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

L. Freitag, J. Ireland, I.J.M. Niesten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Sleep deprivation is well known to negatively affect mood, cognition and behaviour. The current study explored the relationship between sleep quantity, subjective sleep quality and aggression, hostility and well-being levels among adults in a non-clinical population. Two hundred and one participants aged 18 and above from Germany, UK and the Netherlands completed an online survey consisting of a sleep quality index (PSQI) along with measures of psychological well-being, implicit and explicit aggression, and intent attributions. Sleep disturbances were expected to increase hostile attributions and emotional problems such as irritability, distress and inner tension. Additionally, poor sleep quality was expected to predict increased (reactive) aggression. Our results confirmed that 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. Current findings highlight the importance of sleep quality rather than sleep quantity in predicting hostile and aggressive behaviours, particularly perceived quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


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