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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1999 Feb;27(1):5-16.

Treatment of young children's bedtime refusal and nighttime wakings: a comparison of "standard" and graduated ignoring procedures.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 11790, USA.


Young children with sleep problems received either "standard" or graduated ignoring treatment. Both brief treatments were superior to a wait-list control condition and resulted in comparable improvements in bedtime and nighttime sleep problems. At bedtime, the treatments did not differ with respect to maternal compliance and stress. For nighttime wakings, mothers in the graduated ignoring group reported higher rates of compliance and less treatment-related stress. Maternal characteristics predicted treatment outcome in the standard ignoring condition. Following treatment, only positive side effects were observed. When compared to the wait-list group, mothers in the standard ignoring group reported less verbose discipline and decreased stress in parenting, while mothers in the graduated ignoring group reported improved parent-child relationships. Treatment gains were maintained over a 2-month follow-up period.

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