Prevalence of insomnia and its association with quality of life in caregivers of psychiatric inpatients during the COVID-19 pandemic: A network analysis


Background: Studies on sleep problems among caregivers of psychiatric patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, are limited. This study examined the prevalence and correlates of insomnia symptoms (insomnia hereafter) among caregivers of psychiatric inpatients during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the association with quality of life (QoL) from a network analysis perspective.

Methods: A multi-center cross-sectional study was conducted on caregivers of inpatients across seven tertiary psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units of general hospitals. Network analysis explored the structure of insomnia using the R program. The centrality index of “Expected influence” was used to identify central symptoms in the network, and the “flow” function was adopted to identify specific symptoms that were directly associated with QoL.

Results: A total of 1,101 caregivers were included. The overall prevalence of insomnia was 18.9% (n=208; 95% CI=16.7–21.3%). Severe depressive (OR=1.185; P<0.001) and anxiety symptoms (OR=1.099; P=0.003), and severe fatigue (OR=1.320; P<0.001) were associated with more severe insomnia. The most central nodes included ISI2 (“Sleep maintenance”), ISI7 (“Distress caused by the sleep difficulties”) and ISI1 (“Severity of sleep onset”), while “Sleep dissatisfaction” (ISI4), “Distress caused by the sleep difficulties” (ISI7) and “Interference with daytime functioning” (ISI5) had the strongest negative associations with QoL.

Conclusion: The insomnia prevalence was high among caregivers of psychiatric inpatients during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in those with depression, anxiety and fatigue. Considering the negative impact of insomnia on QoL, effective interventions that address insomnia and alteration of sleep dissatisfaction should be developed.

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