Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation





First Advisor

Dr. Misook L. Chung

Second Advisor

Dr. Terry A. Lennie


Sleep disturbance is common in patients with heart failure (HF) and the family caregivers. Sleep disturbance is known as a predictor of poor quality of life (QoL) in individual level. The manner in which patients’ and caregivers’ sleep disturbances influence each other’s QoL has not been determined. The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the associations of sleep disturbance and outcomes in patients with HF and their primary family caregivers. The specific aims were to: 1) examine whether sleep disturbance of patients and their family caregivers predict their own and their partners’ QoL; 2) examine the mediator effects of depressive symptoms on the association between sleep disturbance and QoL in patients and family caregivers; and 3) provide evidence of the psychometric priorities of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) as a measure of caregiving burden in caregivers of patients with HF.

The three specific aims were addressed using secondary analyses of cross-sectional data available from 143 patients with HF and their primary family caregivers. To accomplish Specific Aim One, multilevel dyadic analysis, actor-partner interdependence model was used for 78 patient- caregiver dyads. Individuals’ sleep disturbance predicted their own poor QoL. Caregivers’ sleep disturbance predicted patients’ mental aspect of QoL. For Specific Aim Two, a series of multiple regressions was used to examine the mediation effect in patients and caregivers separately. Depressive symptoms significantly mediated the relationship between sleep disturbance and mental aspect of QoL in patients. The mediation effect was similar in caregivers. For Specific Aim Three, the internal consistency and convergent and construct validity of the ZBI in 124 family caregivers of patients with HF were examined. The results showed that the ZBI is a reliable and valid measure of caregiving burden in this population.

This dissertation has fulfilled important gaps in the evidence base for the QoL outcome in patients with HF and caregivers. The findings from this dissertation provided evidence of the importance of monitoring sleep disturbance for better QoL in both patients and caregivers and the importance of assessing caregivers’ sleep disturbance for improving patients’ QoL. It also provided evidence of the importance of managing depressive symptoms when targeting sleep disturbance to improve QoL in both patients and caregivers.