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Sleep. 2012 Aug 1;35(8):1153-61. doi: 10.5665/sleep.2008.

Residual sleep disturbances in patients remitted from major depressive disorder: a 4-year naturalistic follow-up study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR.



To investigate the prevalence and clinical, psychosocial, and functional correlates of residual sleep disturbances in remitted depressed outpatients.


A 4-yr prospective observational study in a cohort of psychiatric outpatients with major depressive disorder was conducted with a standardized diagnostic psychiatric interview and a packet of questionnaires, including a sleep questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, NEO personality inventory, and Short Form-12 Health Survey.


A university-affiliated psychiatric outpatient clinic.


N/A MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Four hundred twenty-one depressed outpatients were recruited at baseline, and 371 patients (mean age 44.6 ± 10.4 yr, female 81.8%; response rate 88.1%) completed the reassessments, in which 41% were classified as remitted cases. One year prevalence of frequent insomnia at baseline and follow-up in remitted patients was 38.0% and 19.3%, respectively. One year prevalence of frequent nightmares at baseline and follow-up was 24.0% and 9.3%, respectively. Remitted patients with residual insomnia were more likely to be divorced (P < 0.05) and scored higher on the anxiety subscale (P < 0.05). Remitted patients with residual nightmares were younger (P < 0.05) and scored higher on neuroticism (P < 0.05) and anxiety subscales (P < 0.01). Residual insomnia and nightmares were associated with various aspects of impaired quality of life. Residual nightmares was associated with suicidal ideation (odds ratio = 8.40; 95% confidence interval 1.79-39.33).


Residual sleep disturbances, including insomnia and nightmares, were commonly reported in remitted depressed patients with impaired quality of life and suicidal ideation. A constellation of psychosocial and personality factors, baseline sleep disturbances, and comorbid anxiety symptoms may account for the residual sleep disturbances. Routine assessment and management of sleep symptoms are indicated in the integrated management of depression.


Residual sleep disturbances; clinical and functional correlates; prospective study; remitted depression

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