Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 720–732

Factors Associated with Bed-Sharing for African American and White Mothers in Wisconsin


DOI: 10.1007/s10995-014-1545-5

Cite this article as:
Salm Ward, T.C. & Ngui, E.M. Matern Child Health J (2015) 19: 720. doi:10.1007/s10995-014-1545-5


Mother-infant bed-sharing has been associated with a higher risk of sleep-related infant deaths, which affects African Americans at a disproportionately higher rate. Although “separate but proximate sleep surfaces” for infants has been recommended since 2005, bed-sharing remains a common practice, especially among African Americans. This study examined factors associated with bed-sharing among African American and White mothers. Separate logistic regression models were constructed for African American and White respondents to the 2007–2010 Wisconsin Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System. The sample consisted of 806 African Americans and 1,680 Whites (N = 2,486). A significantly larger proportion of African Americans (70.6 %) reported bed-sharing than Whites (53.4 %). For both races, partner-related stress was significantly associated with bed-sharing; no significant differences were found between the two racial groups. For African Americans, partner stress (OR 1.8: 1.2–2.6) and maternal education of 13–15 years (OR 2.0: 1.2–3.4) or ≥16 years (OR 2.7: 1.1–6.3) was associated with increased odds of bed-sharing. For Whites, partner stress (OR 1.3: 1–1.8), breastfeeding (OR 2.5: 1.9–3.1), income of $35,000–$49,999 (OR 1.6: 1.2–2.3), being unmarried (OR 1.5: 1.1–2.2), needing money for food (OR 1.6: 1.1–2.3), and non-supine sleep (OR 1.8: 1.2–2.6) were associated with increased odds of bed-sharing. Differences were found in bed-sharing factors between racial groups which suggests a need for culturally-relevant, tailored safe infant sleep interventions. Providers should ask families about their infant’s sleeping environment and address safety issues within that environment. More research is needed on the context and reasons for bed-sharing.


Bed-sharing Co-sleeping PRAMS Infant sleep Racial disparities 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Health Promotion and Behavior Department, College of Public HealthUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.Center for Urban Population HealthMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Joseph J. Zilber School of Public HealthUniversity of Wisconsin–MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA