Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Although older adults experience greater difficulty initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, or waking up earlier than intended, they are less likely to report that they perceive this to be a problem. The discordance between sleep disorder symptoms and the reported perception that they are troubling is unusually prevalent among older adults. This may be problematic, in that individuals who do not perceive their sleep continuity disturbances (SCDs; difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up earlier than intended) to be problems are less likely to seek treatment. Untreated SCD has been shown to be a risk factor for the development or exacerbation of multiple medical and psychiatric disorders such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, and depression. This study aimed to identify the relationship between age, SCD, sleep-related daytime dysfunction, and the perception that these symptoms are problematic. The study utilized a cross-sectional group comparison approach to assess for age differences in relation to SCD, sleep-related daytime dysfunction, and percent problem endorsement in an archival, community dataset comprised of individuals between 18 and 89 years of age, with sleep complaints. The results indicated that, as expected, SCD worsens with age (except sleep latency); sleep-related daytime dysfunction did not worsen with age except for concentration; and, contrary to expectation, problem endorsement increased with age (except for sleep latency). Findings illustrate the importance of comprehensive sleep assessments, preferably with the inclusion of the question: Is this a problem?