Preschool-age adopted Chinese children's sleep problems and family sleep arrangements

Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Designed to examine the relationship between family sleep arrangements and children's sleep problems in families with preschool-age children adopted from China, this study documented types of sleep arrangements and explored the nature and sources of advice received by parents on co-sleeping. Mothers of 480 children provided survey data on their children's night-time sleep locations, sleep and wake schedules, and changes in sleep arrangements. Children's sleep problems were measured with the Sleep Problem Scale of the Child Behavior Checklist. Descriptive and qualitative analyses showed that most children (71.3%) had a single exclusive sleep location (e.g. solitary sleeping, sharing bedroom with a sibling, sleeping in parents' bedroom, or co-sleeping with parents) and the rest used a combination of two or three different locations. Children with more sleep problems were more likely to have more sleep locations and to co-sleep or share a bedroom with parents. Parents of children with more sleep problems were more likely to seek advice on co-sleeping. When they did, paediatricians were more likely than extended family members and fellow adoptive parents to recommend against co-sleeping. Careful integration of the descriptive and qualitative data permitted us to draw the conclusion that sleep arrangements reflected parental responsiveness to children's sleep behaviours. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Infant and Child Development