Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children aren’t hurt or helped by sharing bed with parents

14.08.2002


Routine parent-child bedsharing before 6 years of age appears to have no major impact on a child’s subsequent development or behavior -- for better or for worse, the first long-term study of the practice reveals.

The researchers’ finding that there is "no evidence linking [early parent-child bedsharing], when engaged in responsibly, with any sort of problematic outcome" should give experts who caution against the practice reason to reconsider their advice, according to lead author Paul Okami, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Okami notes that a large majority of the world’s children share a room, if not a bed, with their parents. Yet American parents receive conflicting messages about the practice.



"Many - perhaps most - experts do not advocate bedsharing, and the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against ’routine’ bedsharing," he explains. These detractors voice concerns that the practice may have such negative impacts as causing sleep disorders and interfering with normal psychosexual development.

At the same time, Okami observes, "A number of clinicians and child-rearing experts have advocated purposeful parent-child bedsharing, or ’the family bed’ as it has come to be known." These proponents claim such long-term benefits to the child as an increased capacity for intimacy.

Okami and his colleagues followed a group of 205 California-born children and their parents since the children were born in 1975. Three-quarters of the families led "unconventional" lifestyles, such as single parenthood and collective living, at the study’s beginning; many endorsed "natural" child-rearing practices. For this reason, the larger study - known as the Family Lifestyles Project - provided an unusual opportunity to investigate patterns of bedsharing and their effects.

As described in the August issue of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, the investigators asked parents to describe their children’s usual sleeping arrangements four times: age 5 months and 3, 4 and 6 years.

At 5 months, 35 percent of the parents reported having their infants in the same room or bed with them at least intermittently, but only 9 percent reported regular bedsharing. The overall rate of regular bedsharing held steady at 6 percent between ages 3 and 5, then fell to 3 percent at age 6.

Bedsharing at some point before age 6 years was most common among those unconventional parents who considered themselves "pronatural" (20 percent) and least common among the conventional parents who were married and living together (2 percent).

Extensive analysis of bedsharing and various developmental and behavioral outcomes, Okami reports, "[did] not support fears that bedsharing would lead to psychosexually troubled relationships later in childhood and adolescence, behavior problems and difficulties in peer and intimate relationships, or early childhood sleep problems."

Children whose parents reported that they were regularly part of a "family bed" at 5 months were no more likely than their non-bedsharing counterparts to experience sleep problems at 2 and 3 years of age.

At age 6, there was no obvious relationship between bedsharing score and behavioral maturity, emotional maturity, mood and affect, or creativity. Nor was there evidence that bedsharing had a negative or positive effect on a child’s sexual fantasies, concerns or preoccupations.

At age 18, the amount of time a child had spent in the "family bed" had no significant impact on his or her ability to relate to parents, adults in general, other family members or peers. Nor was there evidence of a link between bedsharing history and a child’s likelihood of using alcohol, tobacco or hard drugs; having problems with self-acceptance or considering suicide; engaging in vandalism, fights or serious crimes; being sexually active; or having either positive or negative sexual experiences.

If anything, the investigators note, their data indicate small but widespread benefits to children where bedsharing is "part of a wider set of pronatural child-rearing practices and framed by humanistic/egalitarian values," as opposed to a reflection of an underlying pathology such as sexual abuse.


###
Support for the Family Lifestyles study was provided by the Carnegie Corporation, the United States Public Health Service, the W.T. Grant Foundation, and the University of California Los Angeles.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Health Behavior News Service: (202) 387-2829 or www.hbns.org.
Interviews: Contact Dr. Paul Okami at (213) 387-1125 or birdlivs@attbi.com.
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics: Contact Mary Sharkey at (212) 595-7717.


Dr. Paul Okami | EurekAlert!

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>