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August 1982

Sleeping Patterns in Upper-Middle-Class Families When the Child AwakensIll or Frightened

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine (Drs Rosenfeld and Wenegrat, Ms Wenegrat, and Ms Haavik), and Boys Town Center for the Study of Youth Development, (Drs Rosenfeld and Smith), Stanford (Calif) University.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(8):943-947. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290080055008

• Prior research on whether parents and children ever share a bed is scanty. Some experts have written that if parents take their frightened child into bed with them, there will be "devil to pay." Using a questionnaire, we surveyed 415 upper-middle-class parents of 576 children. We asked if, when their child awoke ill or frightened, they took the child into their bed. They commonly did. We question whether explanations that ascribe the cause of psychopathologic disorders to specific events may not be too simplistic. To date, too much attention may have been paid to the events, such as parents and children sharing a bed, and not enough has been devoted to the context, motivation, and setting in which these events occur.