Project SIESTA

Project SIESTA (Study of Infants’ Emergent Sleep TrAjectories) is a study of parent and child contributions to the development of infant sleep patterns across the infant’s first two years of life. 150 families with 1-month-old infants are being recruited from the Mt. Nittany Medical Center in State College, and from Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. The project has been fully approved by the internal review boards of Penn State, Hershey Medical Center, and Mt. Nittany Medical Center. Data are being gathered from mothers, fathers, and infants at several points across the first two years after birth. These data include measures of mother, father, and infant sleep-wake activity, saliva samples, bedtime and nighttime infant behavior and parent-infant interaction, and parents’ perceptions of themselves, of their infants, and how well or poorly parents and infants are sleeping during the night.

Investigators

The investigators hope to be able to draw links between the patterns of infant sleep and parent-infant functioning during the day. Project SIESTA is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and is under the direction of Dr. Douglas Teti, who is professor of human development in Penn State’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS).

Project SIESTA has several co-investigators from Penn State’s departments of Human Development and Family Studies (Cynthia Stifter, Michael Rovine) and Psychology (Pamela Cole), from Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics (Ian Paul), and from the University of California, Davis (Thomas Anders).

Graduate Students

A number of graduate students are also working on the project, including Molly Countermine, Gail Mayer, Bo Ram Kim, Lauren Philbrook, Hye-Young “Grace” Rhee, Mina Shimizu, Brandon McDaniel, Alexia Hozella, Alix Dusel, and Katie Pollom. Also working with us is Dr. Brian Crosby, a post-doctoral fellow whose dissertation focused on children’s daytime naps, and Liesbeth Gudde, a post-baccalaureate student visiting us from the Netherlands. See Project SIESTA personnel.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Research Assistants are involved in almost all aspects of the project and can receive up to 6 course credits (HDFS 497) over 3 semesters. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in learning more about human development in preparation for graduate school. This study may also provide an opportunity for a senior honors thesis, if students are interested. Full-time internships for credit are also available.

Undergraduates at the University Park site who are interested in working on the project should contact Corey Whitesell at cjw142@psu.edu. Interested undergraduates in the Hershey area should contact Stephanie Bekelja at scs209@psu.edu. (Candidates must: be motivated, conscientious, and responsible; give at least a 2 semester commitment to the project; and be able to work at least 6 hrs/week.) Preference is given to students who will be available to work in the summer.

Interested applicants for either the University Park or Hershey site should complete the Undergraduate RA/Intern Application.