Stress, support, psychological states and sleep

Virginia M. Paulsen, Joan L. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A stress-support model incorporating indicators of life events, social support and SCL-90 measures of psychological distress was hypothesized to affect both reported and objective (somnographic) sleep. To determine the effects of these antecedents on sleep among 69 mid-life women, two models were tested, using both partial correlations and path analysis. Of all the measures of life events and social support examined in this study only negative LEs and contacts with non-supportive persons were associated (positively) with psychological distress, differentially explaining between 9% and 19% of the variance in each of five SCL-90 subscales. Both negative life events and contacts with non-supportive persons influenced depression and the SCL-90 PST index, whereas only negative life events affected anxiety, phobic anxiety and paranoid ideation. Anxiety, depression and the PST index, as indicators of psychological distress, had direct inverse effects on reported sleep with significant adjusted R2 values ranging from 10% to 16%. The model did not hold for somnographic sleep. The factors which are likely to contribute to the absence of an observed relationship between psychological distress and somnographic sleep are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1243
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1991


  • SCL90 states
  • life events
  • sleep
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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