Insomnia and changes in alcohol consumption: Relation between possible complicated grief and depression among bereaved family caregivers

Maho Aoyama, Yukihiro Sakaguchi, Daisuke Fujisawa, Tatsuya Morita, Asao Ogawa, Yoshiyuki Kizawa, Satoru Tsuneto, Yasuo Shima, Mitsunori Miyashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Bereaved individuals are known to have greater health risks, such as insomnia, excessive alcohol intake, and depression. However, few studies have investigated the relation between these risks and bereavement outcomes, namely complicated grief (CG) and major depressive disorder (MDD). This study aimed to assess the relation between insomnia, changes in alcohol consumption, and CG or MDD. Methods: A cross-sectional, self-report questionnaire survey was conducted between May and July 2014 on 20 acute hospitals, 133 inpatient palliative care units (PCUs), and 22 home hospice services. Questionnaires were sent to the bereaved family members identified by each institution. Results: Data were obtained from 814, 7,291, and 1,018 family members from acute hospitals, PCUs, and home hospice services, respectively. Significant associations were found between CG or MDD and all sleep condition symptoms (OR: 1.48-12.88; all p<0.0001) and between changes in alcohol intake (OR: 1.63-3.55; all p<0.0001). Limitations: The majority were family members who had lost a loved one to cancer in a PCU, the psychological health of nonresponders was unavailable, the results were based on self-report data, and no clinical assessment interviews were done; this could limit the generalizability of the findings. Conclusions: Overall, 14% and 17% of the respondents reported increased and decreased alcohol consumption, respectively, and 46–61% reported experiencing insomnia. Interestingly, both increase and decrease in alcohol intake after bereavement were risk factors of possible CG or MDD. These results suggest that assessing sleep conditions and alcohol consumption might help prevent severe psychological impairments in bereaved individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1


  • Alcohol consumption
  • Bereavement
  • Depression
  • Grief
  • Health behavior
  • Sleep condition


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