The Association Between Sleep Disturbance and Suicidality in Psychiatric Inpatients Transitioning to the Community: Protocol for an Ecological Momentary Assessment Study

Lindsay H. Dewa, Sofia Pappa, Talya Greene, James Cooke, Lizzie Mitchell, Molly Hadley, Martina Di Simplicio, Thomas Woodcock, Paul Aylin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Patients are at high risk of suicidal behavior and death by suicide immediately following discharge from inpatient psychiatric hospitals. Furthermore, there is a high prevalence of sleep problems in inpatient settings, which is associated with worse outcomes following hospitalization. However, it is unknown whether poor sleep is associated with suicidality following initial hospital discharge. Objective: Our study objective is to describe a protocol for an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study that aims to examine the relationship between sleep and suicidality in discharged patients. Methods: Our study will use an EMA design based on a wearable device to examine the sleep-suicide relationship during the transition from acute inpatient care to the community. Prospectively discharged inpatients 18 to 35 years old with mental disorders (N=50) will be assessed for eligibility and recruited across 2 sites. Data on suicidal ideation, behavior, and imagery; nonsuicidal self-harm and imagery; defeat, entrapment, and hopelessness; affect; and sleep will be collected on the Pro-Diary V wrist-worn electronic watch for up to 14 days. Objective sleep and daytime activity will be measured using the inbuilt MotionWare software. Questionnaires will be administered face-to-face at baseline and follow up, and data will also be collected on the acceptability and feasibility of using the Pro-Diary V watch to monitor the transition following discharge. The study has been, and will continue to be, coproduced with young people with experience of being in an inpatient setting and suicidality. Results: South Birmingham Research Ethics Committee (21/WM/0128) approved the study on June 28, 2021. We expect to see a relationship between poor sleep and postdischarge suicidality. Results will be available in 2022. Conclusions: This protocol describes the first coproduced EMA study to examine the relationship between sleep and suicidality and to apply the integrated motivational volitional model in young patients transitioning from a psychiatric hospital to the community. We expect our findings will inform coproduction in suicidology research and clarify the role of digital monitoring of suicidality and sleep before and after initial hospital discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere33817
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by a National Institute for Health Research Patient Safety Translational Research Centre program grant (PSTRC-2016-004) and the Institute of Global Health Innovation. We are also grateful for support from the National Institute for Health Research under the Applied Research Collaboration program for North West London, and the Imperial National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the National Institute for Health Research, or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Funding Information:
PA is the principal investigator for a research grant provided by Dr Foster Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Telstra Health). No other authors declare any competing interests.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The authors.


  • coproduction
  • discharge
  • ecological momentary assessment
  • EMA
  • experience sampling
  • psychiatric inpatient
  • sleep
  • sleep disturbance
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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