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Free Content Sleep and affect in older adults: using multilevel modeling to examine daily associations

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The main objective of the present study was to examine daily associations (intraindividual variability or IIV) between sleep and affect in older adults. Greater understanding of these associations is important, because both sleep and affect represent modifiable behaviors that can have a major influence on older adults’ health and well-being. We collected sleep diaries, actigraphy, and affect data concurrently for 14 days in 103 community-dwelling older adults. Multilevel modeling was used to assess the sleep–affect relationship at both the group (between-persons) and individual (within-person or IIV) levels. We hypothesized that nights characterized by better sleep would be associated with days characterized by higher positive affect and lower negative affect, and that the inverse would be true for poor sleep. Daily associations were found between affect and subjective sleep, only and were in the hypothesized direction. Specifically, nights with greater reported awake time or lower sleep quality ratings were associated with days characterized by less positive affect and more negative affect. Gender was not a significant main effect in the present study, despite previous research suggesting gender differences in the sleep–affect relationship. The fact that self-ratings of sleep emerged as the best predictors of affect may suggest that perceived sleep is a particularly important predictor. Finally, our results suggest exploration of affect as a potential intervention target in late-life insomnia is warranted.
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Keywords: affect; daily variability; intraindividual variability; mood; older adults; sleep

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, 2: Department of Psychology 3: College of Nursing, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA 4: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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