Impact of self-reported sleep-breathing disturbances on psychosocial performance in the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) Study

Sleep. 1995 Oct;18(8):635-43. doi: 10.1093/sleep/18.8.635.


Patients with severe obesity commonly have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In order to determine the impact of OSA on psychosocial morbidity in severe obesity, subjects enrolled in the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) Study were classified into two subgroups based on questionnaire data: one group with a high likelihood and one with a low likelihood of OSA. These groups were contrasted and multivariable analysis was used to examine whether OSA had independent effects on divorce rate, sick leave, work performance, income and self-estimated general health after adjustment for obesity, fat distribution, alcohol, smoking, medications and coexisting medical conditions. A high likelihood of OSA was identified in 338 men and 155 women, compared with 216 men and 481 women who had a low likelihood of OSA. Men with OSA were identical in age to men without OSA and had slightly higher levels of visceral fat (p = 0.01), but were similar in most psychosocial variables except self-perceived general health. Women with OSA were identical in age and visceral fat mass to women without OSA, but were characterized by a higher rate of impaired work performance, sick leave and divorce. When frequent sleepiness was used as an additional discriminator between OSA and non-OSA groups, marked differences in psychosocial morbidity were observed. Multivariable analysis revealed either OSA or frequent sleepiness or both to be independent predictors of amount of sick leave, worse self-rated general health, impaired work performance and divorce rate. Therefore OSA, measured by self report, is an important independent predictor of psychosocial morbidity in subjects with severe obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Divorce
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Sick Leave
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology*
  • Sleep*
  • Smoking
  • Sweden