Maternal insomnia and depressive symptoms and early childhood sleep among Arab and Jewish families in Israel

Ghadir Zreik, Kfir Asraf, Iris Haimov, Liat Tikotzky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The present study explored the links between maternal insomnia symptoms, maternal depressive symptoms, and young children's sleep quality among two major cultural groups in Israel: Arab and Jewish. We also assessed the prevalence of maternal insomnia and depressive symptoms, in both cultural groups. Methods: Mothers of 497 healthy, typically developing infants and toddlers, ranging in age from 3-36 months, participated in the study: 253 of the mothers were Arab and 244 were Jewish. Mothers completed the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), and the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire. Results: For both cultural groups, there were significant positive associations between maternal ISI and EPDS, as well as between maternal ISI and child sleep variables (nighttime wakefulness and perceived child's sleep problems), after controlling for child age. Significant correlations were also found between maternal EPDS and child sleep, after controlling for child age, but these correlations were not significant once controlling for ISI. Cross-cultural differences in prevalence of insomnia and depressive symptoms were found based on the clinical cutoffs of the ISI and EPDS: Arab mothers, compared to Jewish mothers, reported higher levels of insomnia and depressive symptoms, and were more likely to have scores higher than the clinical cutoff on both measures. Conclusion: Maternal insomnia, depressive symptoms, and child sleep quality are significantly intertwined in both Arab and Jewish families in Israel. The findings highlight the importance of taking these three domains into consideration in research and in clinical assessments of families with young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Cross-cultural
  • Depression
  • Infants
  • Insomnia
  • Mothers
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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