Cultural Variation in Infants' Sleeping Arrangements: Questions of Independence

Gilda A. Morelli, Barbara Rogoff, David Oppenheim, Denise Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examines the decisions of middle-class U.S. and Highland Mayan parents regarding sleeping arrangements during their child's first 2 years and their explanations for their differing practices. All 14 Mayan children slept in their mothers' beds into toddlerhood. None of the 18 U.S. infants slept in bed with their mothers on a regular basis as newborns, although 15 slept near their mothers until age 3 to 6 months, when most were moved to a separate room. The Mayan parents explained their practices in terms of the value of closeness with infants; the U.S. parents explained their practices in terms of the value of independence for infants. The U.S. families, but not the Mayan families, used bedtime routines and objects to facilitate the transition to sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-613
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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