Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Jessica Bradshaw


The current study used parent report in a prospective longitudinal design to examine the relationship between early sleep difficulties and temperament among infants with an older sibling diagnosed with ASD (EL-ASIB, n = 32), those born pre-term (EL-PT, n = 24) and those with no familial history of ASD (LL, n = 28) across the first year of life. At 3, 4, 6 and 12 months, caregivers completed the Short Form of the Infant Behavior Questionnaire-Revised (IBQ-R) (Putnam et al., 2014). To understand how sleep difficulties are related to temperament, a new scale of Sleep Challenges was created with items related to falling and staying asleep as had previously been done with the Very Short Form (Macduffie et al., 2020). Trajectories of sleep difficulties between EL-ASIB, EL-PT, and LL groups were determined with the use of linear mixed-effects models. In addition, associations between early sleep difficulties and IBQ-R scales were examined. From the analyses, it was determined that EL-ASIB infants in the sample experienced greater sleep challenges towards the end of their first year. Additionally, there were several nonsignificant negative associations between surgency/regulatory capacity and sleep challenges at 12 months. Lastly, EL-ASIBs with greater surgency had less sleep challenges than other EL-ASIBs. Findings of this study point to the possibility that infant siblings of autistic children may be at greater risk for sleep challenges and early predictors of sociability are related to temperamental challenges of falling and staying asleep. Additional research is needed to examine objective measures of sleep alongside temperamental measures and its relationship to clinical outcomes.


© 2022, Miranda Hope Foster

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