Washington: Warring parents affect the sleep of their adopted infants, a new research has found. "We know that marital problems have an impact on child functioning, and we know that sleep is a big problem for parents," said Jenae M. Neiderhiser, professor of psychology, Penn State.

New parents often report sleep as being the most problematic of their child's behavior. Neiderhiser and colleagues found that poor sleep patterns in children from ages 9 to 18 months are likely influenced by conflict in their parents'' marriage.

The researchers interviewed 357 sets of adoptive parents both together and separately, assessing their own habits and emotions as well as their children's behaviors. The parents were interviewed twice--first when their children were 9 months old, and again at 18 months.

Parents were asked a series of questions, such as "Have you or your partner seriously suggested the idea of divorce?"

Then they were asked to describe their child's behavior at bedtime, by rating several behaviors listed in the survey, such as "child needs parent in room to fall asleep" or "child struggles at bedtime."

The researchers showed that marital conflict in the first survey at 9 months predicted that the child would be more likely to have sleep problems at the time of the second survey at 18 months. However, if the child had sleep problems at 9 months, the parents were not more likely to have marital stress at 18 months.

The study was recently published in the journal Child Development.

(Agencies)