Social Capital and Sleep Outcomes Across Childhood in United States Families

Published:January 10, 2023DOI:



      To examine whether aspects of social capital, or benefits received from social relationships, are associated with regular bedtime and sleep duration across childhood in US families with lower income.


      Cross-sectional study using the 2018–19 National Survey of Children's Health in participants with incomes <400% federal poverty level. Separately for early childhood (0–5 years), school-age (6–12 years), and adolescence (13–17 years), we used weighted logistic regression to examine associations between social capital (measured by family social cohesion, parent social support, child social support) and sleep (measured by regular bedtime, sleep duration, adequate sleep per American of Academy of Sleep guidelines). Path analysis tested whether regular bedtime mediated associations between social capital and sleep duration.


      In our sample (N = 35,438), 84.9% had a regular bedtime, 60.2% had adequate sleep. Family social cohesion was associated with sleep duration and adequate sleep (infancy: adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.18 [95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32, 3.60]; school age: aOR 2.03 [95% CI, 1.57, 2.63]; adolescence: aOR 2.44 [95% CI, 1.94, 3.09]). In toddlerhood, parent social support was associated with adequate sleep (aOR 1.44 [95% CI, 1.06, 1.96]). In adolescence, child social support was associated with regular bedtime (aOR 1.70 [95% CI, 1.25, 2.32]. Across childhood, associations between family social cohesion and sleep duration were partially mediated by regular bedtime.


      Family social cohesion was associated with adequate sleep across childhood, this was partially mediated by regular bedtime. Associations between social support and sleep outcomes varied by development stage. Future work should consider how supportive relationships may influence child sleep outcomes.


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