Sleep Quality Mediates the Relationship between Traumatic Events, Psychological Distress, and Suicidality in College Undergraduates
mental health, sleep, suicide, undergraduate, well-being
Objectives: To determine whether sleep quality mediates the relationship between traumatic life events and psychological wellbeing in college students. Methods: 40,646 undergraduate responses from the Spring 2017 National College Health Assessment II were evaluated for relationships between two predictor variables: satisfactory sleep and traumatic life events, and two outcome variables: psychological distress (a composite of anxiety, exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed, depression, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and anger) and suicidality (composite of self-harm behaviors, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts). Linear mediation regression analysis via structural equation modeling was used to test these relationships. Results: Each additional traumatic life event students reported experiencing was associated with a 27.6% − 58.9% increase in the odds of reporting indicators of psychological distress or suicidality. Satisfactory sleep significantly mediated this negative relationship (proportional effects between 10.6 and 12.5%). Conclusions: Healthy sleep mediates the impact of traumatic life events on psychological distress and suicidality.
Journal of American College Health