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Sleep cognitions associated with anxiety and depression in the elderly

Authors Leblanc M, Desjardins S, Desgagné A

Received 12 November 2014

Accepted for publication 19 December 2014

Published 16 March 2015 Volume 2015:10 Pages 575—582


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Marie-France Leblanc,1 Sophie Desjardins,1 Alain Desgagné2

1Department of Psychology, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada; 2Department of Mathematics, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada

Purpose: The objective of this study was to identify the maladaptive sleep-related cognitions most often maintained by the elderly, according to the presence or absence of anxiety and mood disorders. The presence of dysfunctional sleep-related beliefs and attitudes at bedtime in asymptomatic, depressive, and anxious seniors was thus compared. The second objective was to verify the relationships between various dysfunctional cognitions and mental disorders.
Method: The sample in this study consisted of 2,759 participants aged 65 years and over, with a mean age of 73.8 years. They were recruited through a method of random generation of telephone numbers according to a sampling strategy based on geographic location. After the goal of the study was explained to them, the participants agreed to have health professionals visit their home and to answer questions in a 1.5-hour-long structured interview (after signing a consent form).
Results: Depressive and anxious seniors adopt dysfunctional sleep-related cognitions in higher proportions than asymptomatic older persons. Once we had controlled for the other factors, we were able to specifically link two sleep-related beliefs and all the sleep-related attitudes studied to the probability of being anxious or depressive.
Conclusion: The clarifications obtained will make it possible to improve detection, assessment, and intervention processes regarding anxiety or mood disorders, by pinpointing the most direct link between each of the dysfunctional cognitions and the two types of mental disorders, and not just the link to sleep problems.

Keywords: beliefs, worries, attitudes, thoughts, insomnia, mental health

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