Hey Mr. Sandman: dyadic effects of anxiety, depressive symptoms and sleep among married couples

J Behav Med. 2016 Apr;39(2):225-32. doi: 10.1007/s10865-015-9693-7. Epub 2015 Nov 6.


This study examined associations among anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep duration in a sample of middle-aged couples using the actor-partner interaction model with dyadic data. Self-report measures were completed independently by both partners as part of the health histories obtained during their annual preventive medical examinations in 2011 and 2012. Results showed that husbands' anxiety and depressive symptoms had a stronger effect on their wives' anxiety and depression than the other way around, but this was not moderated by one's own sleep duration. For both wives and husbands, higher levels of depressive symptoms and anxiety predicted shorter sleep duration for their partner 1 year later, although the effect of husbands' mental health on their wives' was again stronger. The findings suggest that sleep problems might better be treated as a couple-level phenomenon than an individual one, particularly for women.

Keywords: Couples; Dyadic analysis; Marriage; Mental health; Sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Statistics as Topic