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J Fam Psychol. 2007 Mar;21(1):39-48.

Temperamental resistance to control increases the association between sleep problems and externalizing behavior development.

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Department of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.


This study examined the moderating effects of temperamental resistance to control on the link between development of sleep problems and development of externalizing behaviors over a 5-year period. Resistance to control was assessed with mothers' retrospective reports of temperament in infancy, provided when children were 5 years of age. Sleep problems were assessed with mother reports on an annual basis from age 5 to age 9. Externalizing behaviors were assessed with teacher reports on an annual basis from age 5 to age 9. A cross-domain latent growth curve model indicated that sleep problem trajectories were positively associated with externalizing behavior trajectories only for children high in resistance to control. In addition, resistance to control was positively associated with initial (age 5) sleep problems and initial (age 5) externalizing behaviors. The authors speculate that the development of sleep problems promotes the development of behavior problems for resistant children, whose self-regulatory abilities are especially tenuous. Implications for prevention and treatment of conduct problems are considered.

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