Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 56–70 | Cite as

Early Life Socioeconomic Disparities in Children’s Sleep: The Mediating Role of the Current Home Environment

  • Leah D. DoaneEmail author
  • Reagan S. Breitenstein
  • Charles Beekman
  • Sierra Clifford
  • Trevor J. Smith
  • Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant
Empirical Research


Despite identified concurrent socioeconomic disparities in children’s sleep, little research has examined pathways explaining such associations. This study examined the quality of the home environment as a direct predictor of sleep and potential mediator of associations between early life socioeconomic status and objective and subjective indicators of sleep in middle childhood. A socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample of 381 twin children (50% female; 46.6% lower middle class or living at or below the poverty line; 26% Hispanic/Latino) were assessed at 12 months for SES and eight years using gold-standard home environment interviews and actigraphy-measured sleep. Multilevel mediation path models indicated that lower early SES and lower quality concurrent home environments were associated with shorter sleep durations, longer sleep latencies, and greater sleep timing variability. The home environment significantly mediated associations with sleep duration and sleep timing variability. The findings illustrate an important target in the prevention of poor childhood and adolescent sleep.


Sleep Socioeconomic status Home environment Middle childhood 


Authors’ Contributions

L.D.D. and K.L.C. conceived of the study, participated in its design, led data collection, and drafted the manuscript; L.D.D. performed statistical analysis; R.S.B., C.B., and S.C. participated in the design of the study, helped draft the manuscript and performed statistical analysis; T.J.S. participated in the design and helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01HD079520 and a William T. Grant Foundation Early Scholar Award to LDD.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of our institutional review board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study and assent was obtained from all children under the age of 18 at the 8 year assessment.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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