Objective: This study examined the extent to which perceived anxiety control was related to subjective sleep disturbance in young and older adults.
Method: Fifty-one young adults (18 to 30 years old) and 48 older adults (aged 65 years and older) completed questionnaires including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to assess sleep disturbance, Anxiety Control Questionnaire to assess perceived control over anxiety, a perceived health rating, and demographic questionnaire. Correlation and multivariable adjusted hierarchical regression analyses examined the extent to which anxiety control was associated with sleep disturbance.
Results: Anxiety control and health status were associated with global sleep quality on the PSQI, but no age differences in PSQI scores were found. In post hoc analyses, greater anxiety control was related to shorter sleep latency. Both older age and greater anxiety control were associated with less daytime dysfunction, whereas only older age was associated with better sleep quality.
Discussion: Although some variations in sleep quality by age were found, overall findings suggest that perceived anxiety control contributes to sleep disturbance in young and older adults. Greater anxiety control could lead to shorter sleep latency through reduced anxiety and worry symptoms at bedtime. Future studies should examine whether improved anxiety control with psychological treatments is one mechanism through which beneficial and lasting effects on sleep disturbance can be achieved.
Keywords: anxiety; coping; perceived control; self-efficacy; sleep problems.