AIMS: The aims were to identify the most useful parameters of acculturation in relation to self-reported sleep disturbance and describe risk factors for sleep disturbance in women of Mexican descent.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about acculturation as a factor for poor sleep in the context of other personal factors such as income or sense of resilience or mastery for Latinas in the United States.
DESIGN: This study was a secondary analysis of cross sectional survey data.
METHODS: Personal factors were incorporated into a modification of the conceptual framework of impaired sleep to guide our secondary analysis of self-reported sleep disturbance. Data were collected from a convenience sample of 312 women of Mexican descent of childbearing age (21-40 years) located in an urban California community were collected and previously analysed in relation to depressive symptoms and post-traumatic stress disorder. The general sleep disturbance scale (in English and Spanish) was used to assess sleep disturbance. Data was collected in 1998 from September through December.
RESULTS: Early socialization to the United States during childhood was the most useful acculturation parameter for understanding self-reported sleep disturbance in this sample. In a multivariate regression analysis, three factors (higher acculturation, lower income and higher depressive symptoms) were statistically significant in accounting for 40% of the variance in sleep disturbance.
CONCLUSION: When low income Latinas of Mexican descent report sleep problems, clinicians should probe for environmental sleep factors associated with low income, such as noise, over-crowding and exposure to trauma and violence, and refer the woman to psychotherapy and counselling rather than merely prescribing a sleep medication.
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