Can Adverse Childhood Experiences have an Affect on Mental Health Outcomes through Disrupted Sleep?

Research Paper Title

Sleep disturbance mediates the association of adverse childhood experiences with mental health symptoms and functional impairment in US soldiers.

Background

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have long-term impacts on a person’s mental health, which extend into adulthood.

There is a high prevalence of ACEs among service members.

Further, service members also report frequently experiencing disrupted sleep.

Methods

The researchers hypothesised that disrupted sleep may serve a mechanistic function connecting ACEs to functional impairment and poorer mental health.

Results

In a cross-sectional sample (n = 759), the researchers found evidence for an indirect effect of ACEs on mental health outcomes through disrupted sleep.

In a different sample using two time-points (n = 410), they found evidence for an indirect effect of ACEs on changes in mental health outcomes and functional impairment during a reset period, through changes in disrupted sleep during the same period.

Conclusions

Implications, limitations and future research directions are discussed.

Reference

Conway, M.A., Cabrera, O.A., Clarke-Walper, K., Dretsch, M.N., Holzinger, J.B., Riviere, L.A. & Quartana, P.J. (2020) Sleep disturbance mediates the association of adverse childhood experiences with mental health symptoms and functional impairment in US soldiers. Journal of Sleep Research. e13026. doi: 10.1111/jsr.13026. [Epub ahead of print].

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