Adverse childhood experiences associated with sleep health in collegiate athletes

Elizabeth F. Rasmussen, Sophie Barnard, Amy Athey, Suzanne Gorovoy, Michael A. Grandner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The relationship between adverse childhood experiences and sleep disturbances in collegiate athletes was examined. Methods: A questionnaire was completed by 189 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-I male (n = 102) and female (n = 87) student-athletes recruited by flyers on one campus. Variables included adverse childhood experiences (self-reported), insomnia (Insomnia Severity Index), sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), fatigue (Fatigue Severity Scale), and sleep duration (self-reported). In relation to these variables, eight adverse childhood experience categories were examined. Linear regression adjusted for the effects of age and sex. Adverse childhood experience variables were explored as independent variables in separate and combined models. Results: We found a statistically significant dose-response relationship between adverse childhood experience score and increased insomnia levels, poor sleep quality and decreased sleep duration (p < .05). Physical abuse was associated with increased fatigue (B = 9.55, p = .017) and decreased sleep duration (B = − 61.1, p = .017). Emotional neglect was associated with increased insomnia (B = 5.82, p < .0005), decreased sleep quality (B = 3.55, p = .001), fatigue (B = 8.68, p = .013), and decreased sleep duration (B = − 86.22, p < .0005). When adjusted for other adverse childhood experience categories, emotional neglect had the strongest association with sleep outcomes, independently associated with insomnia (B = 5.19, p = .003), sleep quality (B = 2.95, p = .008), and sleep duration (B = − 76.6, p = .001). Conclusions: We found a significant relationship between adverse childhood experiences and adverse sleep outcomes in this sample of collegiate athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)882-888
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • ACEs
  • ACEs questionnaire
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • College athletes
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disturbance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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