© 2017

Family Contexts of Sleep and Health Across the Life Course

  • Susan M. McHale
  • Valarie King
  • Orfeu M. Buxton


  • Engages current research in the new role of families in healthful sleep patterns

  • Offers multidisciplinary perspectives from a range of social science disciplines that affect family influences that influence healthful and unhealthful sleep patterns

  • Encompasses research on the family contexts of sleep across the human lifespan

  • Appeals to a diverse readership: researchers, professors, graduate students, policy makers, policy analysts, and human service administrators

  • Highlights important new directions for family scholars working in varied disciplines in an understudied but significant public health arena


Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 8)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Establishing Healthful Sleep Patterns in Childhood

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Douglas M. Teti
      Pages 3-23
    3. Mona El-Sheikh, Ryan J. Kelly, Lauren E. Philbrook
      Pages 25-49
  3. Couple Relationships and Sleep

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Wendy Troxel
      Pages 53-84
    3. David J. Maume, Leah Ruppanner
      Pages 85-103
    4. Diane S. Lauderdale, Jen-Hao Chen
      Pages 105-120
  4. Families and the Social Ecology of Healthful Sleep

  5. Family Contexts of Sleep: Advancing the Study of Sleep

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Orfeu M. Buxton, Nicole G. Nahmod, Stephen M. Strayer
      Pages 183-199
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 211-222

About this book


This unique volume advances the literature on sleep and health by illuminating the impacts of family dynamics on individuals’ quality and quantity of sleep. Its lifespan perspective extends across childhood, adolescence, adulthood and older age considering both phenomena of individual development and family system dynamics, particularly parent-child and marital relationships. It extends, as well, to the broader contexts of social disparities in sleep as a significant health behavior.  Emerging concepts and practical innovations include ancestral roots of sleep in family contexts, sleep studies as a lens for understanding family health, and methodologies, particularly the use of actigraphy technology, for studying sleep patterns in individuals and families. This rich area of inquiry holds significant keys to understanding a vital human behavior and its critical role in physical, psychological, and relational health and wellbeing.

Among the topics covered:

·         Sleep and development: familial and sociocultural considerations.

·         Relationship quality: implications for sleep quality and sleep disorders.

·         Couple dynamics and sleep quality in an international perspective.

·         Family influences on sleep: comparative and historical-evolutionary perspectives.

·         Sociodemographic, psychosocial, and contextual factors in children’s sleep.

·         Dynamic interplay between sleep and family life: review and directions for future research.


Family Contexts of Sleep and Health Across the Life Course will advance the work of researchers and students in the fields of population health, family demography and sociology, sleep research and medicine, human development, neuroscience, biobehavioral health, and social welfare, as well as that of policymakers and health and human services practitioners. 



Life course Sleep Sleep research Healthful sleep Sleep disruption Sleep duration Sleep quality Sleep quantity Sleep problems Sleep disorders Family context Actigraphy Co-sleeping Parenting practices Maternal distress Waking Parenting quality Sleep and marriage Bedtime Family context

Editors and affiliations

  • Susan M. McHale
    • 1
  • Valarie King
    • 2
  • Orfeu M. Buxton
    • 3
  1. 1.Social Science Research InstitutePennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biobehavioral HealthPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

About the editors

​Susan M. McHale, PhD, is Director of the Social Science Research Institute and Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Professor of Demography at Penn State. Her research focuses on children's and adolescents' family roles, relationships, and daily experiences and how these family dynamics are linked to youth development and adjustment. Dr. McHale’s research highlights family gender dynamics, including how differential family experiences of sisters and brothers are linked to the choices they make in the areas of education, work, and family formation. Dr. McHale also investigates the socio-cultural contexts of family dynamics including how parents’ and youths’ values, practices, and daily experiences have implications for family life and youth adjustment in African American and Mexican American families. Most recently her work has extended to the links between family dynamics, particularly family stressors, and youths’ physical health.

Valarie King, PhD, is Professor of Sociology, Demography, and Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State, and is the Director of the Family Demography Training Program at the Population Research Institute. Her research focuses on intergenerational relationships across the life course and their implications for the health, well-being, and development of family members. Her work has been published in numerous outlets including American Sociological Review, Demography,Journals of Gerontology-Social Sciences, and Journal of Marriage and Family. Dr. King’s most recent work focuses on elucidating the factors that promote the development of strong ties between children and their stepfathers, and the ways in which stepfathers can promote children’s well-being. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Marriage and Family and Journal of Family Issues.

Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD, is Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State where he directs the Sleep, Health & Society group. He also serves as Adjunct Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health; Lecturer on Medicine, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and Associate Neuroscientist, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Buxton’s research focuses primarily on the causes and consequences of sleep deficiency in the workplace, home, and society, and interventions to address these pathways and improve sleep health. He currently co-chairs the Steering Committee for the Work, Family, and Health Network, and serves as an Associate Editor for Sleep Health, and on the editorial board for Sleep.


Bibliographic information