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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.


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 and Psychology, from Hershey Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics, and from the University of California, Davis.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Research Assistants are involved in almost all aspects of the project and can receive up to 6 course credits (HDFS 496) 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 Dr. Doug Teti. Candidates must be motivated, conscientious, and responsible; give at least a two-semester commitment to the project; and be able to work at least six hours per week.