Background: Black adults in the U.S., a heterogeneous group are more likely to experience psychosocial stressors, which may contribute to the higher prevalence of short sleep duration in this population. Identifying salient psychosocial stressors may help to target intervention and reduce the burden of short sleep duration. We investigated the cross-sectional association between psychosocial factors (e.g., stress and work hours) and sleep duration among U.S.-born and Foreign-born Black adults.
Methods: Using data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, we studied 2,925 Black participants, U.S.-born (n=2,503) and Foreign-born adults (n=422). We fit Poisson regression models with robust variance to estimate the associations of frequent stress and work hours and short sleep duration (<7 hours) adjusted for socio-demographic factors (age, sex, education, household income, etc.), health behaviors (smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity) and clinical characteristics (BMI and overweight).
Results: The overall sample had a mean age of 40 + 0.3 years, 52.2% were women, 40.6% were college graduates, 21.4% worked long hours (> 41 hours), 22.5% reported frequent stress and 39.7% reported sleeping < 7 hours. Compared to individuals who did not report frequent stress, Black adults who reported frequent stress had 49% higher prevalence of short sleep duration, after adjusting for covariates (PR 1.49 [95% CI=1.33, 1.67]). After controlling for covariates, Black individuals who worked >41 hours had a higher prevalence of short sleep duration (PR=1.28 [95% CI=1.05,1.57] than individuals who worked 1-34 hours. In the stratified analyses by nativity, only U.S.-born Black adults who worked >41 hours had a higher prevalence of short sleep duration (PR=1.27 [95% CI=1.02, 1.57]) than individuals who worked 1-34 hours after adjusting for relevant covariates. No statistically significant associations were observed for Foreign-born Black adults and long work hours.
Conclusion: Frequent stress was associated with short sleep duration regardless of nativity, however, the association between long work hours and short sleep duration was only among U.S.-born Black adults. These findings suggest that stress may be a point of intervention for U.S.-born and Foreign-born Black adults to improve sleep duration. Future studies should examine work-related stressors and sleep among U.S.-born Black adults.
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