Insomnia and self-reported infections in cancer patients: An 18-month longitudinal study

Health Psychol. 2015 Oct;34(10):983-91. doi: 10.1037/hea0000181. Epub 2015 Jan 19.


Objective: This study, conducted in cancer patients, aimed to evaluate longitudinally whether the presence of insomnia is associated with the occurrence of self-reported infections.

Method: Patients scheduled to receive a curative surgery for a first diagnosis of nonmetastatic cancer were solicited on the day of their preoperative visit. In total, 962 cancer patients completed the Insomnia Interview Schedule and a clinical interview to assess infectious symptoms at 6 time points: at the perioperative phase (baseline), as well as 2, 6, 10, 14, and 18 months later. At each assessment, patients were categorized into the following 3 groups: insomnia syndrome (SYN), insomnia symptoms (SX), and good sleepers (GS).

Results: The analyses revealed that SYN patients at 1 time point were at a significantly higher risk of reporting at least 1 infectious episode at the subsequent assessment (OR = 1.31, p = .04), whereas SX patients were at a marginally significant higher risk of reporting such episodes (OR = 1.19, p = .08), as compared with GS.

Conclusions: Although these results need replication and the causality needs to be established, they suggest that insomnia may potentiate the risk of experiencing infections during the cancer care trajectory. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infections / etiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Psychoneuroimmunology / methods*
  • Self Report
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology*