Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 February 2021
Childhood maltreatment (CM) is a known risk factor for adolescent pregnancy. Sleep disturbances and psychological distress, both common negative sequelae of CM, often co-occur during pregnancy, although directionality remains unclear. Furthermore, little is known about how CM affects sleep–distress associations during pregnancy. In pregnant adolescents, we examined: (a) whether there are significant predictive associations from CM to sleep quality and distress and (b) bidirectional influences of distress and sleep quality. Healthy pregnant adolescents (n = 204) were recruited before or during the 2nd trimester. CM was assessed at enrollment; sleep quality and distress were assessed in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Hypotheses were tested using path analysis. Findings revealed that CM was associated with worse 2nd trimester sleep quality and distress (β = .19, p < .05 for sleep; β = .30, p < .001 for distress). Higher levels of 2nd trimester distress were associated with lower 3rd trimester sleep quality (β = .19, p < .05). Findings provide novel information about (a) associations from CM to prenatal mood and sleep in pregnant adolescents, and (b) sleep–distress directionality over the course of pregnancy. These results have implications for better understanding the ways in which CM potentially exerts influences later in life, and for targeting interventions to address physical and mental health during pregnancy.