Inadequate Sleep as a Mediating Variable between Exposure to Interparental Violence and Depression Severity in Adolescents

J Child Adolesc Trauma. 2016 Jun;9(2):109-114. doi: 10.1007/s40653-016-0091-2.


Exposure to violence, including interparental and peer dating violence, is a public health concern associated with negative outcomes, including depression. However, little is known about mechanisms by which exposure to violence influences depressive symptoms. One factor that may help explain this association is problematic sleep. This study sought to determine whether short sleep duration mediates the relationship between exposure to violence (interparental and peer dating violence) and depressive symptoms. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the mediating role of short sleep duration from a 3-year longitudinal study of 1,042 high school students. Results demonstrated interparental violence was negatively related to sleep duration (friends dating violence was not), and sleep duration negatively associated with depressive symptoms. Adolescents exposed to violence between their parents obtained less sleep on school nights. In turn, they reported more depressive symptoms. Short sleep duration mediated the relationship between exposure to interparental violence and depression severity.

Keywords: Interparental violence; depression; peer dating violence; sleep.