Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jan E. Mutchler

Second Advisor

Louise Parker

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Burr


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between insomnia and depressive symptoms among middle-aged and older adults and to investigate whether gender or physical activity moderates this relationship. Method: This study used nationally representative data from the 2016 and 2018 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and binomial logistic regression was used to estimate models. Regression models for risk of depressive symptoms (2018) were based on a longitudinal model with time-lagged indicators of insomnia, levels of physical activity, and covariates (2016). Results: Analyses showed that participants who reported having insomnia in 2016 were more likely to report depressive symptoms in 2018. This study did not find a statistically significant interaction between insomnia and physical activity or insomnia and gender. Discussion: This study showed how insomnia is associated with an increased risk of depression over a two-year period among middle-aged and older adults. Further research is needed to explore differences in gender and physical activity in greater detail. Findings from this study have the potential to inform health professionals and policymakers about the importance of insomnia and depression and develop health promotion programs to reduce the negative and costly health consequences of depression. Moreover, results from the current study can be useful in providing a baseline for pre-and post-pandemic levels of insomnia and depression.