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The relationship between parent-infant bed-sharing and marital satisfaction for mothers of infants aged 6 - 12 months Messmer, Rosemary Laurel

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between time spent bed-sharing and marital satisfaction for mothers of infants aged 6-12 months. The main purpose of the study was to establish whether time spent bed-sharing predicted any variance in marital satisfaction, and whether or not this depended on classification as an intentional or reactive bed-sharer. A secondary purpose was to establish whether satisfaction with bed-sharing, level of fatigue, or sexual satisfaction mediated the relationship between time spent bed-sharing and marital satisfaction. Data were obtained from surveys completed by mothers (N = 98) in committed relationships with a first-born child between the ages of 6-12 months. Time spent bed-sharing was measured by multiplying the number of hours mothers indicated they typically bed-shared in a night by the number of days they typically bed-shared in a week. Marital satisfaction was measured using the Satisfaction subscale of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976). Participants were classified as reactive bed-sharers if they indicated that they bed-shared due to infant night-time problems, such as the infant not falling asleep, and were classified as intentional bed-sharers if they indicated that their reason for bed-sharing was not in reaction to an infant night-time problem (Ramos, 2003). Regression analysis showed that time spent bed-sharing predicted a small amount of variance in marital satisfaction for the sample as a whole. Moderation analysis showed that the amount of variance predicted in marital satisfaction depended on group classification as an intentional or reactive bed-sharer. For intentional bed-sharers, time spent bed-sharing did not significantly predict marital satisfaction. For reactive bed-sharers an increase in time spent bed-sharing predicted a significant decrease in marital satisfaction. Results showed that none of the intended mediator variables were significantly correlated with time spent bed-sharing. Results support the need for further research in the area of bed-sharing and marital satisfaction, and highlight the importance of recognizing the differences between intentional and reactive bed-sharers. Health care professionals may wish to emphasize safety precautions around bed-sharing for parents who intentionally want to bed-share, and offer alternative interventions for parents who are using bed-sharing reactively as a way to deal with infant sleep problems.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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