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Volume 10 No. 07
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Sleep Complaints in Older Blacks: Do Demographic and Health Indices Explain Poor Sleep Quality and Duration?

Alyssa A. Gamaldo, Ph.D.1,2; Charlene E. Gamaldo, M.D.,F.A.A.S.M.3; Jason C. Allaire, Ph.D.4; Adrienne T. Aiken-Morgan, Ph.D.5; Rachel E. Salas, M.D.3; Sarah Szanton, Ph.D., C.R.N.P.6; Keith E. Whitfield, Ph.D.5,7
1School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; 2National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD; 3Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; 4Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC; 5Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities, Duke University, Durham, NC; 6School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD; 7Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC


To examine the relationship between measures of sleep quality and the presence of commonly encountered comorbid and sociodemographic conditions in elderly Black subjects.


Analyses included participants from the Baltimore Study of Black Aging (BSBA; n = 450; mean age 71.43 years; SD 9.21). Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) measured overall sleep pattern and quality. Self-reported and objective measures of physical and mental health data and demographic information were collected for all participants.


Sociodemographic and comorbid health factors were significantly associated with sleep quality. Results from regression analyses revealed that older age, current financial strain, interpersonal problems, and stress were unique predictors of worse sleep quality. Sleep duration was significantly correlated with age, depressive affect, interpersonal problems, and stress; only age was a unique significant predictor. While participants 62 years or younger had worse sleep quality with increasing levels of stress, there was no significant relationship between sleep quality and stress for participants 81 years and older.


Several potential mechanisms may explain poor sleep in urban, community dwelling Blacks. Perceived stressors, including current financial hardship or hardship experienced for an extended time period throughout the lifespan, may influence sleep later in life.


Gamaldo AA, Gamaldo CE, Allaire JC, Aiken-Morgan AT, Salas RE, Szanton S, Whitfield KE. Sleep complaints in older blacks: do demographic and health indices explain poor sleep quality and duration? J Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(7):725-731.

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