Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 86–99 | Cite as

Maternal Sensitivity Predicts Fewer Sleep Problems at Early Adolescence for Toddlers with Negative Emotionality: A Case of Differential Susceptibility

  • Anne Conway
  • Anahid Modrek
  • Prakash Gorroochurn
Original Article


Theory underscores the importance of parenting in sleep development, but few studies have examined whether links vary by temperament. To address this gap, we tested whether potential links between early maternal sensitivity and early adolescent sleep problems varied by child negative emotionality and delay of gratification. Using data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 820), we found that high maternal sensitivity predicted fewer bedtime problems and longer sleep duration at 6th grade for toddlers with high negative emotionality, whereas low maternal sensitivity predicted the reverse. No differences were observed for low negative emotionality. Moreover, delay of gratification predicted fewer bedtime problems at 6th grade, but did not moderate associations between maternal sensitivity, negative emotionality, and sleep. Findings demonstrate that high, but not low, negative emotionality renders toddlers differentially susceptible and receptive to maternal sensitivity in relation to sleep.


Differential susceptibility Maternal sensitivity Negative emotionality Delay of gratification Sleep problems 

Supplementary material

10578_2017_730_MOESM1_ESM.docx (129 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 128 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne Conway
    • 1
  • Anahid Modrek
    • 2
    • 3
  • Prakash Gorroochurn
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Social Work and Columbia Population Research CenterColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of Education and Information StudiesUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.R620 Department of BiostatisticsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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