Article Title

Sleep disruptions and mental health of primary caregivers of persons with disability due to chronic mental and physical conditions in the Australian population

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the association between sleep disruption and the general mental health of caregivers of disabled people in Australia.

It was hypothesised that greater sleep disruption would be associated with poorer mental health amongst caregivers. The study utilised data obtained from a national health survey of a stratified random sample, with the current sample consisting of 687 people living in a private dwelling who identified themselves as the primary caregiver of a person with a disability. In addition to information regarding their primary recipient of care and the broader impact of their caregiving role, sleep disruptions were assessed by responses to a direct question during a personal structured interview.

General mental health of caregivers was assessed using the SF-12v2 Health Survey to classify their mental health to one of four linear categories, ranging from ‘severe mental ill-health’ to ‘excellent mental health’.

Data were analysed using multinomial logistic regression to cater for the multiple classifications of the outcome. After adjusting for potential confounding factors, results suggested a significant association between sleep disruptions and poor mental health among caregivers. Those who were frequently disrupted in their sleep were about 2.5 times more likely to experience severe mental ill-health (OR: 2.42, 95% CI = 1.28, 4.54) when compared to those whose sleep was not disrupted at all. There was no significant association between occasional disruptions and mental ill-health after adjusting for potential confounders.

Results suggested that sleep disruptions can be considered as a potential risk factor for severe mental ill-health among caregivers.

Keywords

peer-reviewed, chronic illness

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