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children, depressive symptoms, developmental disabilities, mothers, physical health, sleep



  1. Lee, Jiwon
  2. Hayat, Matthew J.
  3. Spratling, Regena
  4. Sevcik, Rose A.
  5. Clark, Patricia C.


Background: Although empirical evidence shows that mothers of children with developmental disabilities (DDs) are at risk for poor mental and physical health, the relative contribution of maternal and child characteristics, including sleep quality, remain unclear.


Objectives: The aims of this study were to compare select maternal (sleep quality, caregiving stress, and other sociodemographic variables) and child characteristics (sleep and behavior problems) between mothers with worse mental and physical health and those with better mental and physical health and to determine the contribution of selected characteristics on mental and physical health in mothers of school-age children (ages 6-12 years) with DDs.


Methods: This cross-sectional, correlational study included a convenience sample of 40 mothers of children with DDs. Mothers completed a set of questionnaires, including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Zarit Burden Interview, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and the 36-Item, Short-Form Health Survey Version 2.


Results: Results from bivariate logistic regression modeling showed that mothers with high depressive symptoms and worse physical health, as compared to mothers with low depressive symptoms and better physical health, reported significantly higher caregiving stress, poor sleep quality, and more chronic health conditions and more behavior and sleep problems in children with DDs. A multivariable logistic regression model showed mother's sleep quality was significantly associated with increased risk of high levels of depression (OR = 1.934, 95% CI [1.106, 3.385], p = .021) and increased risk of worse physical health (OR = 1.920, 95% CI [1.086, 3.393], p = .025).


Discussion: Sleep health assessment may be beneficial when providing care to families of children with DDs.