Does insomnia mediate the link between childhood trauma and impaired control over drinking, alcohol use, and related problems?

Sean N. Noudali, Julie A. Patock-Peckham, Sophia L. Berberian, Daniel A. Belton, Lyndsay E. Campbell, Frank J. Infurna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Hyperarousal theory states that stressful negative events can result in a physiological response in the body leading to poor sleep quality. Childhood trauma is associated with many negative health consequences persisting into adulthood such as insomnia. Insomnia itself is a driver of poor physical and psychological health including excessive alcohol use. We examined the direct and indirect relationships between trauma (i.e., physical-neglect, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse) as well as emotionally supportive families on insomnia, impaired control over drinking, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems. Methods: We studied a sample of 941 college students (467 women, 474 men). For our data analysis, we used a structural equation model with model indirect commands and 20,000 iteration bootstrapping with asymmetric confidence intervals in Mplus to obtain our mediated effects. Results: Higher levels of emotional abuse were directly associated with more insomnia. Further, higher levels of physical neglect were directly associated with more impaired control over drinking. We found several mediational pathways from this investigation as well. Higher levels of emotional abuse were indirectly linked to both more alcohol use and alcohol-related problems through increased insomnia and impaired control over drinking. Conclusions: Our results were consistent with Hyperarousability Theory. We suggest that insomnia may contribute to dysregulated drinking and that combating emotional abuse could be a promising therapeutic target of intervention among college student social drinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100402
JournalAddictive Behaviors Reports
Volume15
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Alcohol related problems
  • Alcohol use
  • Childhood trauma
  • Impaired control
  • Sleep problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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