Impact of childhood parental abuse and neglect on sleep problems in old age

Poon, Cecilia Y. M. and Knight, Bob G. (2011) Impact of childhood parental abuse and neglect on sleep problems in old age. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66B (3). pp. 307-310. ISSN 1079-5014


Objectives: This study examined whether subjective sleep complaints in late adulthood were associated with childhood parental abuse and neglect and whether the association was mediated by current relationship strain and emotional distress.

Methods: Multiple regression analyses were performed on data from 877 older adults aged 60 years and above from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States. Adverse childhood experiences were retrospectively recalled at Time 1 (1995-1996). Sleep complaints, relationship strain, and emotional distress were assessed at Time 2 (2004-2006).

Results: Early parental emotional abuse was significantly associated with more sleep complaints in old age. Unsupportive interactions with family, friends, significant others, and emotional distress partially explained the association.

Discussion: Parental emotional abuse in childhood hindered the development of supportive social relationships later in life, which was associated with more emotional distress, and exerted a negative influence on subjective sleep quality among older adults. Future research should examine other underlying mechanisms that explain the contribution of human attachment to sleep across the lifespan.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 23:51
Last Modified: 09 Feb 2017 05:19
Uncontrolled Keywords: attachment; emotional abuse; relationship strain; sleep
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110308 Geriatrics and Gerontology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920502 Health Related to Ageing
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbr003

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