What is the Spielman model of chronic insomnia?

Updated: Sep 11, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

The Spielman model (see the image below) of chronic insomnia posits 3 components: predisposing factors, precipitating factors, and perpetuating factors. [31] According to this model, predisposing factors may cause the occasional night of poor sleep, but in general, the person sleeps well until a precipitating event (eg, death of a loved one) occurs, which triggers acute insomnia. If bad sleep habits develop or other perpetuating factors set in, the insomnia becomes chronic and will persist even with removal of the precipitating factor.

Theoretical model of the factors causing chronic i Theoretical model of the factors causing chronic insomnia. Chronic insomnia is believed to primarily occur in patients with predisposing or constitutional factors. These factors may cause the occasional night of poor sleep but not chronic insomnia. A precipitating factor, such as a major life event, causes the patient to have acute insomnia. If poor sleep habits or other perpetuating factors occur in the following weeks to months, chronic insomnia develops despite the removal of the precipitating factor. Adapted from Spielman AJ, Caruso LS, Glovinsky PB: A behavioral perspective on insomnia treatment. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 1987 Dec;10(4):541-53.

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