Experience of Poverty and Problem Sleep in Later Life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older adults are more likely to report problem sleep, but little is known about how the economic challenges of old age affect sleep. Using data from the disability and use of time from the panel study of income dynamics (N = 1,693), this study applied propensity score methods and the marginal structural model to estimate the associations between exposure to poverty and two measures of problem sleep: risky sleep duration and difficulty falling asleep. Poverty, irrespective of duration of exposure, had little impact on short sleep duration. Exposure to poverty, however, was associated with increased likelihood of long sleep duration on weekends and having difficulty falling asleep on both weekdays and weekends, especially for older adults who were exposed to poverty for 5 or more years. Findings suggest that economic hardship of old age may be a social structural obstacle for healthy sleep.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-722
Number of pages26
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Social Psychology


  • aging
  • economic hardship
  • health inequality
  • sleep
  • time use


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