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To examine two hypotheses about the longitudinal relationship between night-time parenting behaviours in the first few postnatal weeks and infant night-time sleep-waking at five weeks, three months and six months of age in normal London home environments.
Most western infants develop long night-time sleep periods by four months of age. However, around 20–30% of infants in many countries continue to sleep for short periods and cry out on waking in the night: the most common type of infant sleep behaviour problem. Preventive interventions may help families and improve services. There is evidence that ‘limit-setting’ parenting, which is common in western cultures, supports the development of settled infant night-time behaviour. However, this evidence has been challenged. The present study measures three components of limit-setting parenting (response delay, feeding interval, settling method), examines their stability, and assesses the predictive relationship between each of them and infant sleep-waking behaviours.
Longitudinal observations comparing a General-Community (n=101) group and subgroups with a Bed-Sharing (n=19) group on infra-red video, diary and questionnaire measures of parenting behaviours and infant feeding and sleep-waking at night.
Bed-Sharing parenting was highly infant-cued and stable. General-Community parenting involved more limit-setting, but was less stable, than Bed-Sharing parenting. One element of General-Community parenting – consistently introducing a short interval before feeding – was associated with the development of longer infant night-time feed intervals and longer day-time feeds at five weeks, compared with other General-Community and Bed-Sharing infants. Twice as many General-Community infants whose parents introduced these short intervals before feeding in the early weeks slept for long night-time periods at three months of age on both video and parent-report measures, compared with other General-Community and Bed-Sharing infants. The findings’ implications for our understanding of infant sleep-waking development, parenting programmes, and for practice and research, are discussed.
To provide descriptive figures for infant distress and associated parenting at night in normal London home environments during the first three months of age.
Most western infants develop long night-time sleep periods by four months of age. However, 30% of infants in many countries sleep for short periods and cry out on waking in the night: the most common type of infant sleep behaviour problem. Preventive interventions may help families and improve services. There is evidence that ‘limit-setting’ parenting, which is common in western cultures, supports the development of settled infant night-time behaviour. However, a recent review has challenged this and argued that this form of parenting risks distressing infants. This study describes limit-setting parenting as practiced in London, compares it with ‘infant-cued’ parenting and measures the associated infant distress.
Longitudinal infrared video, diary and questionnaire observations comparing a General-Community (n=101) group and subgroups with a Bed-Sharing (n=19) group on measures of infant and parenting behaviours at night.
General-Community parents took longer to detect and respond to infant waking and signalling, and to begin feeding, compared with the highly infant-cued care provided by Bed-Sharing parents. The average latency in General-Community parents’ responding to infant night-time waking was 3.5 min, during which infants fuss/cried for around 1 min. Compared with Bed-Sharing parenting, General-Community parenting was associated with increased infant distress of around 30 min/night at two weeks, reducing to 12 min/night by three months of age. However, differences in infant distress between General-Community subgroups adopting limit-setting versus infant-cued parenting were not large or statistically significant at any age. The figures provide descriptive evidence about limit-setting parenting which may counter some doubts about this form of parenting and help parents and professionals to make choices.
Many adolescents with mental health problems experience transition of care from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services (AMHS).
As part of the TRACK study we evaluated the process, outcomes and user and carer experience of transition from CAMHS to AMHS.
We identified a cohort of service users crossing the CAMHS/AMHS boundary over 1 year across six mental health trusts in England. We tracked their journey to determine predictors of optimal transition and conducted qualitative interviews with a subsample of users, their carers and clinicians on how transition was experienced.
Of 154 individuals who crossed the transition boundary in 1 year, 90 were actual referrals (i.e. they made a transition to AMHS), and 64 were potential referrals (i.e. were either not referred to AMHS or not accepted by AMHS). Individuals with a history of severe mental illness, being on medication or having been admitted were more likely to make a transition than those with neurodevelopmental disorders, emotional/neurotic disorders and emerging personality disorder. Optimal transition, defined as adequate transition planning, good information transfer across teams, joint working between teams and continuity of care following transition, was experienced by less than 5% of those who made a transition. Following transition, most service users stayed engaged with AMHS and reported improvement in their mental health.
For the vast majority of service users, transition from CAMHS to AMHS is poorly planned, poorly executed and poorly experienced. The transition process accentuates pre-existing barriers between CAMHS and AMHS.
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