Multiple Types of Childhood Maltreatment, Sleep, and Anxiety in Former Foster Youth

Abstract

Although existing literature has widely identified significant relationships between a history of childhood maltreatment and mental health problems and between a history of childhood maltreatment and sleep problems, less is known about relationships between experiences of multiple types of childhood maltreatment, sleep problems, and anxiety in low-income young adults and former foster youth. This study aimed to explore whether experiences of multiple types of childhood maltreatment, a history of foster care placement, lifetime trauma, and hours of sleep would be associated with anxiety in low-income young adults and former foster youth. The study surveyed a total sample of 143 young adults, and their hours of sleep were measured with FitBits. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between experiences of multiple types of childhood maltreatment, a history of foster care placement, lifetime trauma, hours of sleep, and anxiety. The study found a significant relationship between multiple types of child maltreatment and anxiety, after controlling for a history of foster care placement, lifetime trauma, and demographic information. Notably, while experiences of multiple types of child maltreatment and a history of foster care placement were no longer associated with anxiety, a lifetime history of trauma remained associated with anxiety, after controlling for hours of sleep. Social workers and service providers need to provide low-income young adults and former foster youth with interventions aimed at addressing both sleep problems and traumatic stress, which may in turn reduce the risk for anxiety.

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Correspondence to Hyunji Lee.

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Lee, H., Fusco, R.A. Multiple Types of Childhood Maltreatment, Sleep, and Anxiety in Former Foster Youth. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-021-00742-3

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Keywords

  • Multiple types of childhood maltreatment
  • Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Foster care
  • Young adults