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Rachel Cohen, PhD
September 2019

Educational Psychology
Child development, Sleep

Rachel is a school psychologist and special educator.
Currently she is an adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College
teaching in the Education foundations department.

 


Rachel is a school psychologist and special educator. Currently she is an adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College teaching in the Education foundations department.

Dissertation Title:

"The Effects of An Educational Intervention for Caregivers on Their Knowledge of Child Sleep and Child Sleep Behavior"

Sleep is crucial for optimal development, health, and growth in children. However, current research indicates that children are not receiving adequate sleep and lack of sleep can lead to physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems (i.e., Mindell & Owens. 2003). In addition, improper sleep can have a negative impact on learning (Dewald et al., 2010). One route for children to achieve better sleep is to enhance caregiver knowledge about child sleep (Jan et al., 2008). Prior research on this topic has shown that, although caregiver knowledge can be increased through an intervention, often this knowledge increase is not maintained, nor does it seem to have an effect on actual sleep behavior of children (McDowell et al., 2017). Prior research, however, has not been conducted with a sample of middle-income, typically developing, preschool children. The current study implemented an intervention with such a sample to compare the effects of two different forms of caregiver education programs (“brochure only” and “brochure and email follow-up”) on caregiver sleep knowledge and beliefs and child sleep. A control group was used to compare effects of the intervention. Sixty-two participants comprised the three groups. Participants’ knowledge and beliefs on child sleep were assessed through a pretest and an immediate (given one-week post pretest) and a delayed posttest (given one-month post intervention). Child sleep duration was measured through a sleep diary before and after the intervention. Results indicated no significant increase in caregiver knowledge on the immediate posttest, in the intervention groups when compared to the control group. However, there was a significant gain in knowledge on the delayed posttest for the “brochure only” intervention group when compared to the control group. No significant changes were seen in caregiver beliefs. Additionally, there was no significant change in child sleep duration.


Committee Members:

Dr. Joan Lucariello (chairperson); Dr. Bruce Homer; Dr, Alpana Bhattacharya; Dr. Elizabeth Hayward; Dr. Elizabeth Cardoso