Recalled early life adversity and pain: the role of mood, sleep, optimism, and control

Ambika Mathur, Jennifer E. Graham-Engeland, Danica C. Slavish, Joshua M. Smyth, Richard B. Lipton, Mindy J. Katz, Martin J. Sliwinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Early life adversity (ELA) has been associated with pain symptomatology in adulthood, but mechanisms and moderators of these associations are unclear. Using recall based and concurrently assessed self-report data, we examined associations between ELA, mood, sleep, and recent pain intensity and interference, and whether optimism and perceived control weakened these associations in a midlife community sample of diverse adults reporting some ELA. Controlling for demographic variables and BMI, higher levels of ELA were associated with more pain intensity and interference; greater sleep disturbance and negative mood accounted for these associations. When moderation was examined, only the path from sleep disturbance to pain interference was significantly attenuated for those with higher optimism and higher perceived control. These findings suggest that higher levels of ELA may link with pain in adulthood through poorer mood and sleep, and that resilience resources such as optimism and control may buffer some of these pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-515
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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