Anxiety and executive functions in mid-to-late life: the moderating role of sleep

Elliottnell Perez, Joseph M. Dzierzewski, Adrienne T. Aiken-Morgan, Christina S. McCrae, Matthew P. Buman, Peter R. Giacobbi, Beverly L. Roberts, Michael Marsiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: The goal of the study was to examine the influence of sleep efficiency on the relationship between anxiety and executive functions. Method: Secondary data analyses of 82 community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults were performed (M age = 63.00, SD = 8.64). Anxiety was measured using the trait anxiety subscale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Sleep efficiency was measured using one-week of sleep diary data. Two executive functions, cognitive flexibility and inductive reasoning, were measured using the Trail-Making Test and Letter Series task, respectively. SPSS PROCESS macro software version 2 was used to assess the moderating role of sleep efficiency in the relationship between anxiety and executive functions. Results: Sleep significantly moderated the relationship between anxiety and inductive reasoning. Among middle-aged and older adults with high anxiety, those with good sleep efficiency displayed significantly better inductive reasoning than those with poor sleep efficiency after controlling for age, gender, and education (ΔR2 =.05, p =.017). Sleep efficiency did not significantly moderate the relationship between anxiety and cognitive flexibility. Conclusion: Sleep efficiency weakened the association between anxiety and inductive reasoning in middle-aged and older adults. Evidence from the study suggests better sleep may limit the negative effects of anxiety on executive functions in mid-to-late life. Further research is needed to elucidate the impact of anxiety and sleep on executive functions in clinical populations with anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1459-1465
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume24
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • executive function
  • older adults
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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