Insomnia Symptoms, Nightmares, and Suicidal Ideation in Older Adults

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Abstract

Objectives.

Prior research has found that insomnia symptoms and nightmares are associated with suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and death by suicide. However, to the best of our knowledge, no research has examined the relation between insomnia symptoms, nightmares, and suicidal ideation in older adults. The current project aimed to fill this void by investigating the relation between insomnia symptoms, nightmares, and suicidal ideation in an older adult sample.

Method.

The study utilized a cross-sectional design. The sample consisted of 81 older adult patients (age ≥ 65 years) recruited from a family medicine clinic. The participants were asked to complete surveys about their sleep, symptoms of depression, and suicidal ideation.

Results.

Insomnia symptoms, but not nightmares, were significantly related to suicidal ideation. In addition, insomnia symptoms were related to suicidal ideation independent of nightmares. Furthermore, the relation between insomnia symptoms and suicidal ideation was mediated by depressive symptoms.

Discussion.

These findings have implications for the identification and treatment of suicidal ideation in older adults.

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