Psychological distress as a mediator of the relationship between childhood maltreatment and sleep quality in adolescence: Results from the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) Longitudinal Study
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Childhood maltreatment represents an important public health concern, as it is often associated with a host of negative outcomes across development. In recent years, researchers have begun to examine the link between negative health-related behaviors and history of childhood maltreatment. The current study considers the relationship between history of childhood maltreatment and sleep disturbances in adolescence. Further, the role of psychological distress is considered as an explanatory link between childhood maltreatment and adolescent sleep disturbances. The current study is a secondary analysis using a subsample (N=73) of child welfare-involved youth who participated in the initial and 2-year time-point of the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) Longitudinal Study on the variables of interest. Youth reported on lifetime maltreatment experiences, psychological distress, and sleep disturbances, in addition to the other measures administered as part of the larger MAP study protocol. More severe childhood maltreatment was related to increased sleep disturbances during adolescence, and psychological distress was a significant mediator of the childhood maltreatment-adolescent sleep disturbance association. The results demonstrate that a history of childhood maltreatment represents a risk factor for sleep disturbances in adolescence. The findings highlight the importance of inquiring about health-related behaviors in child welfare youth and the need to promote psychological well-being within this population.
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