The effects of pain, gender, and age on sleep/wake and circadian rhythm parameters in oncology patients at the initiation of radiation therapy

David Buffum, Theresa Koetters, Maria Cho, Liz MacEra, Steven M. Paul, Claudia West, Bradley Aouizerat, Laura Dunn, Marylin Dodd, Kathryn Lee, Bruce Cooper, William Wara, Patrick Swift, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

To date, no studies have evaluated for differences in subjective and objective measures of sleep disturbance in oncology outpatients with and without pain. This descriptive study, recruited 182 patients from 2 radiation therapy (RT) departments at the time of the patient's simulation visit. Approximately 38% of the sample reported moderate to severe pain (ie, worst pain intensity of 6.2 ± 2.4). After controlling for age, patients in pain reported worse sleep quality and more sleep disturbance using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. With the General Sleep Disturbance Scale, patients in pain reported poorer sleep quality, increased use of sleep medications, and more daytime sleepiness. In addition using an objective measure of sleep disturbance (ie, actigraphy), significant gender × pain interactions were found for sleep onset latency, percentage of time awake at night, wake duration, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency. While no differences were found in female patients, males in pain had worse scores than males without pain. Findings from this study suggest that pain and sleep disturbance are prevalent in oncology outpatients and that a patient's age and gender need to be considered in any evaluation of the relationship between pain and sleep. Perspective: The effects of pain on subjective and objective sleep parameters appear to be influenced by both patients' age and gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pain
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Keywords

  • Pain
  • actigraphy
  • cancer
  • circadian rhythm
  • gender
  • insomnia
  • radiation therapy
  • sleep
  • sleep disturbance
  • wakefulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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