Life course adversity and sleep disturbance among low-income women with young children

Mersky, J. P., Plummer Lee, C., & Jackson, D. B. (2023). Life course adversity and sleep disturbance among low-income women with young children. Sleep Health. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2023.02.007

Objectives: This study explored whether patterns of lifetime adversity are associated with sleep disturbance and tested whether adult adversity mediates the relationship between childhood adversity and sleep.

Methods: A sample of 1510 postpartum women in Wisconsin who received home visiting services completed assessments of childhood adversity, adult adversity, and sleep disturbance; 989 women completed another sleep assessment about one year later. Latent class analysis was used to identify classes of lifetime adversity, which were then used to predict later sleep ratings while controlling for earlier sleep ratings and demographic variables. A path analysis was conducted to explore whether adult adversity mediated the association between childhood adversity and sleep.

Results: Adverse childhood and adult experiences were highly prevalent, and greater life-course adversity was associated with sleep disturbance. The association between childhood adversity and sleep was significantly mediated by adult adversity.

Conclusions: Sleep quality appears to correspond with life-course adversity, pointing to ongoing opportunities for prevention and intervention.

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