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Bedtime Schedules and Sleep Regulation Among Children of Incarcerated Parents


Branigan, Amelia R. & Meyer, Jess M. (Online ahead of print). Bedtime Schedules and Sleep Regulation Among Children of Incarcerated Parents. Journal of Pediatrics. PMCID: PMC Journal - In Process


OBJECTIVES: To investigate variation by parental incarceration history in the bedtime schedules set for elementary-age children and whether sleep was effectively regulated.
STUDY DESIGN: We ran multivariate regression models estimating the relationship between parental incarceration and six measures of bedtime schedules and sleep regulation. Our sample included 9-year-olds in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=3246), a survey of children born in large U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000 that has an oversample of unmarried mothers.
RESULTS: Children's bedtime schedules did not differ at a statistically significant level by parental incarceration history, but children of ever- versus never-incarcerated fathers had lower odds of consistently adhering to a set bedtime. Children of ever-incarcerated fathers also slept for less time on average than did children of never-incarcerated fathers, and they had lower odds of obtaining sufficient sleep. Bedtime consistency partly mediated the association between paternal incarceration and total sleep duration.
CONCLUSIONS: Although caregivers set appropriate bedtime schedules for children of ever-incarcerated fathers, consistent adherence to those schedules may be particularly challenging given the structural hardships of paternal incarceration. Policymakers, researchers, and practitioners working to improve sleep among children of incarcerated fathers should focus on helping families develop strategies for implementing bedtime schedules as consistently and effectively as possible.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Journal of Pediatrics


Branigan, Amelia R.
Meyer, Jess M.


PMC Journal - In Process

Data Set/Study

Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study


United States of America