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Psychol Aging. 2010 Dec;25(4):858-66. doi: 10.1037/a0019622.

Psychosocial predictors of changing sleep patterns in aging women: a multiple pathway approach.

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Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, 2500 Overlook Terrace, Madison, WI 53705, USA.


The authors of this investigation sought to examine changes in the sleep quality of older women over time and to determine whether dimensions of psychological well-being, health (subjective health and number of illnesses), and psychological distress (depression and anxiety) predict these changes. A secondary analysis was conducted with a longitudinal sample of aging women (Kwan, Love, Ryff, & Essex, 2003). Of 518 community-dwelling older women in the parent study, 115 women (baseline M age = 67 years, SD = 7.18) with data at baseline, 8 years, and 10 years were used for this investigation. Participants completed self-administered questionnaires and participated in in-home interviews and observations. Growth curve modeling was used to examine the overall linear trajectories of sleep quality. Growth mixture modeling was used to examine whether there were different patterns of change in sleep quality over time and to examine baseline predictors of each pattern. Sleep quality declined over time but not for all women. Two distinctly different sleep patterns emerged: good but declining sleep quality and disrupted sleep quality. Higher psychological well-being (positive relations with others, environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life, and self-acceptance), fewer illnesses, and lower depression scores at baseline predicted reduced odds for membership in the disrupted sleep group. Future research is needed to examine whether interventions focused on maintaining or enhancing psychological well-being could minimize later life declines in sleep quality.

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