Maternal cognitions and depression in childhood behavioral insomnia and feeding disturbances

Tali Golik, Hadas Avni, Haim Nehama, Michal Greenfeld, Yakov Sivan, Riva Tauman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate (1) maternal cognitions regarding infant's sleep and feeding and maternal depression among mothers of children with behavioral insomnia, feeding disturbances and healthy controls, and (2) the association between maternal cognitions about sleep and those about feeding. Methods: Children 6-36. months of age with either behavioral insomnia or feeding disorders were recruited. Children 6-36. months of age who attended the well-baby clinics were recruited and served as controls. The participants' mothers completed three questionnaires on their cognitions/perceptions of their child's sleep and feeding habits and about their own feelings of depression. Results: A total of 230 children (31 with behavioral insomnia, 29 with feeding disorders, 170 controls) were enrolled. Their mean age was 16.1. ±. 7.6. months. Maternal cognitions/perceptions about sleep (maternal cognition infant sleep questionnaire, MCISQ) did not differ significantly between the behavioral insomnia group and the feeding disorders group. The MCISQ score was significantly higher in the behavioral insomnia group compared with controls (P<.02). Mothers of children with feeding disorders reported being significantly more frustrated or anxious when they fed their child (P<.0005), less confident about their child getting enough food (P<.0005), and less confident in their ability to manage their child's behavior at mealtime (P<.02) compared to the controls. Significant positive correlations were found between the MCISQ scores and the Beck Depression Inventory scores (r=0.29,. P<..0002), and between the MCISQ scores and the maternal cognitions of their child's feeding scores (r=0.26,. P<..0002). The latter remained significant after controlling for maternal depression (r=0.25,. P<..002). Conclusions: Mothers of children with either behavioral insomnia or feeding disorders differ significantly from mothers of controls regarding their cognitions about sleep and feeding. Maternal cognitions about infant sleep behavior correlated with their cognitions about infant feeding. Maternal cognitions are a modifiable factor that may serve as a target for intervention in both sleep and feeding disorders in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-265
Number of pages5
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation707/12


    • Children
    • Cognitions
    • Depression
    • Feeding
    • Infancy
    • Insomnia
    • Maternal
    • Sleep


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