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Changes in Caregiving Status and Intensity and Sleep Characteristics Among High and Low Stressed Older Women.
Song Y, Harrison SL, Martin JL, Alessi CA, Ancoli-Israel S, Stone KL, Fredman L. Changes in Caregiving Status and Intensity and Sleep Characteristics Among High and Low Stressed Older Women. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 2017 Dec 15; 13(12):1403-1410.
To examine whether change in caregiving status and intensity among community-dwelling older women was associated with sleep characteristics at follow-up, and whether perceived stress modified these associations.
The sample included 800 women aged 65 years or older who completed baseline and second follow-up interviews in the Caregiver-Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (Caregiver-SOF). Respondents were categorized into four groups based on change in caregiving status and intensity between the two time points: continuous noncaregivers, ceased caregivers, low-intensity caregivers (continuous caregivers with low/decreased intensity), and high-intensity caregivers (continuous caregivers with high/increased intensity or new caregivers). Perceived Stress Scale scores at the second follow-up were dichotomized into high versus low stress. Sleep outcomes at SOF Visit 8 (which overlapped with Caregiver-SOF second follow-up) included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index total score; and actigraphy-measured total sleep time, sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, and sleep latency.
Multivariate-adjusted sleep characteristics did not differ significantly across caregiving groups. Among high-intensity caregivers, however, those with high stress levels had significantly longer wake after sleep onset (mean 82.3 minutes, 95% confidence interval = 70.9-93.7) than those with low stress levels (mean 65.4 minutes, 95% confidence interval = 55.2-75.7). No other sleep outcomes were modified by stress levels. Further, higher stress was significantly associated with worse Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores, regardless of the caregiving group.
Overall, sleep characteristics did not differ among noncaregivers, ceased caregivers, or those with high-/low-intensity caregiving among older women. However, subgroups of caregivers may be vulnerable to developing sleep problems, particularly those with high stress levels.