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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2009 May-Jun;38(3):367-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2009.01032.x.

Relationship between sleep and physical activity in female family caregivers at the initiation of patients' radiation therapy.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN, USA.



To evaluate for differences in subjective and objective measures of sleep between physically active and inactive female family caregivers of oncology patients at the initiation of their spouses' radiation therapy and evaluate for differences in demographic, clinical, and symptom characteristics between women in the 2 activity groups.


Descriptive, cross-sectional study.


Two radiation treatment centers.


Female family caregivers of patients who began radiation therapy for prostate, lung, or brain cancer.


Women were categorized as inactive (n=38) or active (n=30) based on self-report ratings of activity over a period of 2 days. Activity groups were compared on demographic and clinical characteristics, self-reported measures of sleep and other symptoms, and objective measures of sleep using wrist actigraphy.


Inactive women had a higher number of comorbid conditions, lower levels of attentional function, less self-reported sleep time, a longer sleep onset latency, and a higher percentage of daytime sleep as measured by actigraphy compared with active women.


Inactivity in female family caregivers of oncology patients is associated with poorer self-reported sleep and decreased attentional function.

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