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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.

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STUDY OBJECTIVES: 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. METHODS: 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. RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: 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.

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