Sleep disturbance and poor sleep quality are major health problems worldwide. One potential risk factor for the development and maintenance of sleep disturbance is the parenting style experienced during childhood. However, its role in sleep disturbance in adulthood has not yet been estimated. This Japanese population study was done to clarify the relation between the parenting styles “care” and “overprotection” during childhood and sleep disturbance in adulthood.
A total of 702 community-dwelling Japanese residents aged ≥ 40 years were assessed in 2011 for their perceptions of the parenting style of their parents by use of the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) and for sleep disturbance by use of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). The odds ratio (OR) for sleep disturbance (a global PSQI score > 5) was calculated using a logistic regression model.
The prevalence of sleep disturbance was 29 %. After adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle, and physical factors in a comparison with the optimal parenting styles (high care and low overprotection), the ORs for sleep disturbance by men were significantly higher for low paternal care, by 2.49 times (95 % confidence interval [CI]: 1.21–5.09), and for high overprotection, by 2.40 times (95 % CI: 1.19–4.85), while the ORs were not significant for low maternal care and high overprotection. For women the only significant factor was high maternal overprotection, by 1.62 times (95 % CI: 1.05–2.52), while the ORs were not significant for low maternal care, low paternal care and high paternal overprotection. The association remained significant for high paternal overprotection for men after additionally controlling for depression.
This study suggests that parenting style, especially inadequate care and excessive overprotection during childhood, is related to sleep disturbance in adulthood and that the association is much more significant for parents of the same sex as the child.