A psychological pathway from insomnia to depression among older adults

Paul Sadler, Suzanne McLaren, Megan Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Higher levels of insomnia predict greater depression severity among older adults; however, the psychological mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear. This study tested a path model that explored whether dysfunctional beliefs about sleep and hopelessness mediated the relationship from insomnia to depression. It was hypothesized that insomnia would predict depression, both directly and indirectly, via dysfunctional beliefs about sleep and hopelessness.

Methods: A community sample of 218 independent-living Australian older adults aged from 65 to 96 years completed a self-report questionnaire package. From the initial 218 participants, 171 completed a measure of depression three months later.

Results: Path analysis demonstrated that maladaptive sleep beliefs and hopelessness partly explained how insomnia influenced depression, irrespective of the presence of obstructive sleep apnea and/or restless legs syndrome.

Conclusions: An older adult's beliefs about sleep and sense of hopelessness were important psychological factors that helped explain how insomnia related to depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1383
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Psychogeriatrics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2013


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