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Somnologie

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 175–182 | Cite as

Does your childhood define how you sleep and love?

Sleep as a possible moderator of the relationship between child maltreatment and romantic relationship patterns
  • Angela PfaffEmail author
  • Angelika A. Schlarb
Original studies
  • 146 Downloads

Abstract

Background

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can lead to worse sleep quality (SQ) and have an impact on relationships. This study examines the role of sleep on the link between ACEs and romantic relationship quality (RRQ). Additionally, the association between ACEs and romantic relationship patterns and nightmares is investigated.

Methods

In a self-assessment questionnaire survey, ACEs as well as romantic relationship (quality, history, orientation) and sleep patterns (quality, nightmares) were assessed in 300 women aged 18–52 years using the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Nightmare Effects Questionnaire, Relationship Orientation Questionnaire, and the Relationship Assessment Scale. Demographic data and number of previous romantic relationships were also assessed.

Results

SQ was found to be a significant mediator of the relationship between childhood maltreatment (CM) and RRQ. The prediction of RRQ through ACE becomes smaller and non-significant when impaired SQ is accounted for. Neither a general history of ACEs nor single types of ACEs predict short-term romantic relationship orientation (preference for short- over long-term romantic relationships). However, overall CM, history of sexual abuse, separation of parents, violence against the mother, substance abuse of a household member, and mental disorder of a household member significantly predict more romantic relationships. Heightened nightmare frequency is predicted by emotional neglect and substance abuse of a household member. More daytime effects of nightmares were also predicted by overall CM.

Conclusion

As sleep was found to moderate the link between ACEs and RRQ, therapeutic treatments for CM individuals should target sleep improvement as an important goal. This might not only improve SQ, but also quality of life or romantic relationships.

Keywords

Life change events Surveys and questionnaires Sleep wake disorders  Quality of life Dreams 

Einfluss der Kindheit auf Schlaf- und Beziehungsqualität

Schlaf als möglicher Mediator des Zusammenhangs zwischen Kindesmisshandlung und romantischen Beziehungsmustern

Zusammenfassung

Hintergrund

Aversive Kindheitserfahrungen (ACE) können zu einer schlechteren Schlafqualität (SQ) führen und Einfluss auf Beziehungen nehmen. Ziel der Studie war es herauszufinden, welche Rolle Schlaf in Bezug auf die Verbindung zwischen ACE und romantischer Beziehungsqualität (RRQ) spielt. Darüber hinaus wird auch die Beziehung zwischen ACE und romantischen Beziehungsmustern sowie Albträumen näher beleuchtet.

Methodik

An der Studie nahmen 300 Frauen zwischen 18 und 52 Jahren teil. In einer Umfrage wurden ACE, romantische Beziehungsmuster (Qualität, Geschichte, Orientierung) sowie Schlafprobleme (Qualität, Albträume) unter Einbezug folgender Fragebögen erhoben: Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Nightmare Effects Questionnaire, Relationship Orientation Questionnaire und Relationship Assessment Scale. Darüber hinaus wurden demografische Daten sowie die Anzahl bisheriger romantischer Beziehungen erfragt.

Ergebnisse

Die SQ wirkt als signifikanter Mediator auf die Beziehung zwischen Kindesmisshandlung (CM) und RRQ. Die Vorhersage der Beziehungsqualität durch ACE wird kleiner und nicht signifikant, sobald beeinträchtigte SQ mit berücksichtigt wird. Weder ACE i. Allg. noch einzelne ACE-Typen sagen eine Kurzzeit-Beziehungsorientierung (Präferenz für kurze im Gegensatz zu langfristigen Beziehungen) vorher. ACE i. Allg., sexueller Missbrauch, elterliche Trennung, Gewalt gegen die Mutter, Substanzmissbrauch und psychische Störungen eines Haushaltsmitglieds gehen hingegen signifikant mit einer höheren Anzahl vorheriger romantischer Beziehungen (Liebesbeziehungen mit einem Partner) einher. Häufigere Albträume lassen sich durch emotionale Vernachlässigung und Substanzmissbrauch eines Haushaltsmitglieds vorhersagen. Auch wurden durch Kindesmisshandlung mehr Auswirkungen bei Tag von vorangegangenen Albträumen prognostiziert.

Schlussfolgerung

Wegen des mediierenden Effekts von Schlaf auf die Beziehung zwischen ACE und RRQ sollte in der Therapie von Patienten mit belastenden Kindheitserfahrungen die Verbesserung des Schlafs ein Behandlungsziel sein, um somit nicht nur die SQ, sondern auch die Lebens- oder Partnerschaftsqualität zu verbessern.

Schlüsselwörter

Lebensverändernde Ereignisse Erhebungen und Fragebögen Schlaf-Wach-Störungen Lebensqualität Träume 

Notes

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

A. Pfaff and A.A. Schlarb declare that they have no competing interests.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Medizin Verlag GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Sports ScienceBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

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