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Measuring Sleep in Vulnerable Older Adults: A Comparison of Subjective and Objective Sleep Measures.

Hughes JM, Song Y, Fung CH, Dzierzewski JM, Mitchell MN, Jouldjian S, Josephson KR, Alessi CA, Martin JL. Measuring Sleep in Vulnerable Older Adults: A Comparison of Subjective and Objective Sleep Measures. Clinical Gerontologist. 2018 Mar 1; 41(2):145-157.

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OBJECTIVES: This study compared subjective (questionnaire) and objective (actigraphy) sleep assessments, and examined agreement between these methods, in vulnerable older adults participating in a Veterans Administration Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program. METHODS: 59 ADHC participants (95% male, mean age  =  78 years) completed sleep questionnaires and 72 continuous hours of wrist actigraphy. Linear regression was used to examine agreement between methods and explore discrepancies in subjective/objective measures. RESULTS: Disturbed sleep was common, yet there was no agreement between subjective and objective sleep assessment methods. Compared with objective measures, one-half of participants reported worse sleep efficiency (SE) on questionnaires while one-quarter over-estimated SE. Participants reporting worse pain had a greater discrepancy between subjective and objective SE. CONCLUSIONS: Vulnerable older adults demonstrated unique patterns of reporting sleep quality when comparing subjective and objective methods. Additional research is needed to better understand how vulnerable older adults evaluate sleep problems. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Objective and subjective sleep measures may represent unique and equally important constructs in this population. Clinicians should consider utilizing both objective and subjective sleep measures to identify individuals who may benefit from behavioral sleep treatments, and future research is needed to develop and validate appropriate sleep assessments for vulnerable older adults.

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