Objectives: To examine differences in maternal sleep-related cognitions and to explore the associations between those cognitions and reported child sleep quality in a sample of mothers of young children, from two major cultural groups in Israel: Arab and Jewish. Method: Mothers of 497 healthy, typically developing infants and toddler ranging in age from 3-36 months, participated in the study: 253 of the mothers were Arab and 244 were Jewish. Mothers completed the Maternal Cognitions about Infant Sleep Questionnaire, and the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire. Results: Cross-cultural differences in maternal sleep-related cognitions were found between Arab and Jewish mothers. Arab mothers were more likely to hold sleep-related cognitions reflecting their difficulty in limiting their nighttime intervention in response to their child's awakenings, compared to Jewish mothers who were more likely to report feelings of anger and higher levels of doubts in their parental competence in response to their child‘s nocturnal awakenings. Moderation analyses demonstrated that, only for Arab mothers but not for Jewish mothers, cognitions reflecting difficulty in limiting nighttime intervention, and feelings of anger and doubts were positively associated with poorer perceived child sleep quality. Conclusion: The results suggest that the links between maternal cognitions and child sleep are culturally-specific. Moreover, the discrepancies between Arab and Jewish mothers in sleep related cognitions may reflect differences between collectivistic and individualistic cultures. Maternal sleep-related cognitions seem to be an important parental aspect to consider in clinical sleep interventions of infants in the Arab society.
- Sleep-related cognitions