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 Emotional child abuse leads to sleep problems in elderly


Impact of abuse never leaves the system

     David Goodhue

       June 9, 2011  

Senior citizens who suffered parental abuse as children are more likely than their peers to have sleep problems, according to a new study.


Researchers with the Gerontological Society of America said in their study that emotional abuse specifically was associated with poorer sleep quality as people aged.


The authors said in a statement that the impact of this abuse stays in a person’s system as he or she ages and may limit a person’s ability to fend for himself emotionally “and successfully navigate the social world.”


The researchers studied data from 877 adults age 60 and older for the study.


Sleep problems reported by the abuse victims included trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep, waking up too early in the morning, and not feeling rested during the day no matter how much sleep they got the night before.


The researchers also said that the same emotional abuse during childhood was associated with poorer relationships in adulthood.


A report on the study is published in the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences.


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