Sleep quality as predictor of BMI in non-depressed caregivers of people with dementia

  • Stefano EleuteriEmail author
  • Maria C. Norton
  • Federica Livi
  • Caterina Grano
  • Paolo Falaschi
  • Cristiano Violani
  • Fabio Lucidi
  • Caterina Lombardo
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Sleep and Eating and Weight disorders



Although most cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of children and adolescents have found a link between short duration of sleep and obesity, the literature related to adults provides a non-consensual framework. The aim of the present study was to examine the association between sleep quality and BMI in a population of caregivers looking after people suffering from dementia, with a view to identifying the moderating role of depressive symptoms in the relationship between sleep problems and BMI.


A total of 117 subjects took part in the study, filling in a Sociodemographic Questionnaire, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Eating behavior Questionnaire and The Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression.


Depressive symptoms were greater in females than in males. The sample was divided into two subgroups based on depressive-symptom scores. Only within the subsample with low depressive symptoms, higher sleep disturbances influenced BMI positively. Within this subsample of participants with low depressive symptoms, the variables that seem to play a pivotal role in explaining a high BMI are: female gender, sleep problems, and diet quality, while within the subsample with high depressive symptoms only the female gender factor was found to influence BMI.


Depressive symptoms seem to act as moderators in the relationship between sleep and BMI. They should be evaluated to identify the risk of high BMI, and to differentiate clinical intervention, at least in this population, which experiences the stress of caregiving chronically, though not suffering from clinical eating disorders.

Level of evidence

Level II, cross-sectional study.


Eating disorders Obesity Mediterranean diet Sleep quality Depression Caregiving 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. The last-mentioned author is also the Editor of the Topical Collection where the manuscript is submitted.

Ethical approval

All the procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its successive amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Psychology Department, Sapienza University of Rome.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained individually from all the participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Developmental PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of Family, Consumer and Human Development and Department of PsychologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  4. 4.Geriatric Unit, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, S. Andrea HospitalSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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