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Abused kids have poorer sleep quality in senior years

June 9, 2011 - Washington

Children who have been abused by their parents are at an increased risk of having poor sleep quality in old age, according to a new research.

Lead author Cecilia Y. M. Poon, a doctoral student at the University of Southern California's Davis School of Gerontology and colleagues analysed data from 877 adults age 60 years and above found that early parental emotional abuse was associated with a higher number of sleep complaints in old age.

It was specifically emotional abuse - rather than physical abuse or emotional neglect - that was tied to trouble in getting a good night's sleep, Poon said.

"A negative early attachment continues to exert an influence on our well being decades later through an accumulation of stressful interpersonal experiences across our lives," Poon said in a statement.

"The impact of abuse stays in the system. Emotional trauma may limit a person's ability to fend for themselves emotionally and successfully navigate the social world," she added.

The study data was from 3,500 adults who responded to questions about their childhood, then a decade later, they were asked follow-up questions about sleep, relationships and emotional distress.

The study has been published in the current issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences.


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