Poor sleep quality in patients with multiple sclerosis: gender differences

Marianna Vitkova*, Jaroslav Rosenberger, Zuzana Gdovinova, Jarmila Szilasiova, Pavol Mikula, Johan W. Groothoff, Sijmen A. Reijneveld, Jitse P. van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives Most of the psychological and physical factors associated with poor sleep quality in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a different prevalence in women and men, but whether or not these factors contribute differently to sleep quality in women and men with MS remains unclear. The aim of this study was to identify possible gender differences in factors related to poor sleep quality in MS patients.

Material and Methods We collected data from 153 patients with MS. Patients filled out the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and one item of the Short Form-36 regarding pain.

Results The best model of predictors of poor sleep quality consisting of gender, depression, anxiety, pain, and the interaction between gender and pain showed that the only variable interacting with gender, which was significantly associated with poor sleep quality was pain (odds ratio [OR] for interaction of pain with male gender was 15.4, 95% CI: 2.4; 39.5). Separate models for men and women consisting of pain, depression, anxiety, after adjustment for age, disease duration, and disability showed that pain was the only variable associated with poor sleep quality in men (OR=12.7, 95% CI: 1.9; 29.6), whereas depression (OR=4.1, 95% CI: 1.3; 13.2) and anxiety (OR=6.8, 95% CI: 2.4; 19.1) were in women.

Conclusions Factors contributing to poor sleep quality in MS patients differ by gender. Depression and anxiety are associated with poor sleep quality in women, whereas pain is in men. This highlights the need to apply gender-specific approaches to the treatment of sleep disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00553
Number of pages6
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2016


  • gender differences
  • multiple sclerosis
  • sleep quality
  • PAIN

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