Life stress, insomnia, and anxiety/depressive symptoms in adolescents: A three-wave longitudinal study

Yanyun Yang, Xianchen Liu, Zhen Zhen Liu, Jenn Yun Tein, Cun Xian Jia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Life stress has negative impacts on sleep and mental health. Little empirical work has investigated the associations between life stress, insomnia, and anxiety/depressive symptoms (ADS) in multi-wave longitudinal studies. This longitudinal study examined these associations in a large sample of adolescents. Methods: A total of 6995 adolescents (mean age = 14.86 years, 51.4 % male) participated in a 3-wave longitudinal study of behavior and health in Shandong, China. Standardized rating scales were used to assess life stress, insomnia, and ADS in 2015 (T1), 1 year later (T2), and 2 years later (T3). Three-wave longitudinal panel models were conducted to examine the prospective relationships between life stress, insomnia, and ADS. Results: The prevalence and persistence rates of insomnia and ADS across T1-T3 significantly increased with elevated life stress score (p <.001). Cross-lagged panel analysis showed that life stress, insomnia, and ADS at a later time point were significantly predicted by the same variable at earlier time points (all p <.01). Life stress, insomnia, and ADS significantly predicted each other bidirectionally over time (all p <.01). The relationship between life stress and ADS was partially mediated by insomnia. The relationship between life stress and insomnia was partially mediated by ADS. Study limitation: Life stress, insomnia, and ADS were all self-reports. Conclusions: Life stress, insomnia, and ADS are prospectively bidirectionally related to one another. Insomnia was a mediator of life stress and subsequent ADS and vice versa. These findings underscore the importance of sleep and mental health assessment and intervention in adolescents following life stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume322
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Life stress
  • Longitudinal study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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