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Biol Psychol. 2008 Feb;77(2):217-22. Epub 2007 Nov 4.

Financial strain is a significant correlate of sleep continuity disturbances in late-life.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, United States.


Although psychological stress has been associated with disturbed sleep in younger populations, little is known about the stress-sleep relationship in late-life. In the present study, we evaluated relationships among a chronic stressor, ongoing financial strain, and sleep in a heterogenous sample (n=75) of community-dwelling elders (mean age=74.0 years). Self-report measures included ongoing financial strain, mental health, physical health and subjective sleep quality. Sleep duration, continuity, and architecture were measured by polysomnography (PSG). Analysis of variance and regression were used to test the hypothesis that ongoing financial strain is a significant correlate of disturbed sleep in the elderly. Covariates included age, sex, mental health and physical health. Analyses revealed that ongoing financial strain is a significant correlate of PSG-assessed sleep latency, wakefulness after sleep onset, and sleep efficiency. After adjusting for the effects of age, sex, mental health, and physical health on sleep, ongoing financial strain was associated with lower sleep efficiency (p<.01). Our results show that chronic stress, as measured by ongoing financial strain, is a significant correlate of sleep disturbances in the elderly, even after adjusting for factors known to impact sleep in late-life.

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