Childhood Trauma and Suicide: The Mediating Effect of Stress and Sleep

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 12;19(14):8493. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19148493.


This study aimed to investigate the relationship between suicide risk, perceived stress, and sleep quality through a structural equation modeling approach. This study used convenience sampling to survey 780 undergraduate and graduate students aged 18-30 years. Students were invited to participate in the online questionnaires, which included the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation, the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire-Revised, the Perceived Stress Scale, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire-Short Form, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. The results showed that suicide ideation and suicidal behavior were positively correlated with childhood trauma, stress, and sleep. A well-fitted structural equation model (χ2 = 1.52, df = 1, χ2/df = 1.52, RMSEA = 0.03, CFI = 1.00, NFI = 1.00) was constructed in this study. The hierarchical regression test showed significance in all the path coefficients of the model. The total effect of emotional abuse on suicide behaviors was 49.5%. The mediating effects accounted for 73.7% of the total effects of emotional abuse on suicidal behaviors. The results demonstrate efforts targeting stress and poor sleep might mitigate the risk of suicidal behaviors among individuals with early emotional abuse experiences.

Keywords: childhood emotional abuse; childhood trauma; sleep; stress; structural equation model; suicide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences*
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep
  • Students / psychology
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [32170931, 31871171] and the National Social Science Foundation of China [21BTY094].