Childhood Abuse as a Risk Factor for Sleep Problems in Adulthood: Evidence from a U.S. National Study
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Accumulating evidence indicates that stress impairs sleep quality. Few studies, however, have examined the extent to which early life stress can jeopardize sleep in adulthood.
Guided by a life course epidemiological perspective on health, this study examined associations between childhood abuse and adult sleep problems.
We used data from 835 respondents in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS). Self-report measures assessed the frequency of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in childhood, as well as global and component indicators of sleep problems in adulthood.
Having experienced all three types of childhood abuse—even infrequently—was associated with global sleep pathology, as well as specific types of sleep problems. Reports of both frequent physical and frequent emotional abuse—even in the absence of sexual abuse—were also associated with poor sleep.
Childhood abuse is a risk factor for individuals’ long-term sleep problems.
KeywordsAdverse childhood experiences Sleep Child abuse Stress Life course
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