Exploring the relationship between sleep quality, emotional well-being and aggression levels in a European sample

Lara Freitag (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Jane L. Ireland (School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK) (Ashworth Research Centre, Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK)
Isabella J.M. Niesten (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research

ISSN: 1759-6599

Publication date: 10 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Sleep deprivation is well known to negatively affect mood, cognition and behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between sleep quantity, subjective sleep quality and aggression, hostility and well-being levels among adults in a non-clinical population.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 201 participants aged 18 and above from Germany, UK and the Netherlands completed an online survey consisting of a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index along with measures of psychological well-being, implicit and explicit aggression, and intent attributions.

Findings

Sleep disturbances were related to decreased levels of psychological well-being. Subjective poor sleep quality predicted increased hostile attributions. The overall sleep experience, however, was not associated with aggression levels. Nevertheless, both a poor sleep experience and low sleep quality were related to increased reactive aggression, but only in British participants.

Practical implications

The importance of perceived sleep quality rather than sleep quantity in predicting hostile and aggressive behaviours is indicated. The quality of sleep and perception of this quality should be the focus of clinical intervention to limit unwanted behavioural impacts. The importance of accounting for sleep quality perception in intervention that examines attributional biases such as hostility is indicated. Differences across countries should be identified and accommodated for in intervention.

Originality/value

This is the first study to consider a role for sleep quality (including perception) and sleep quantity in relation to aggression and hostility in a cross-country European sample.

Keywords

Citation

Freitag, L., Ireland, J.L. and Niesten, I.J.M. (2017), "Exploring the relationship between sleep quality, emotional well-being and aggression levels in a European sample", Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 167-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-08-2016-0239

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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