Daily sleep quality and support in romantic relationships: The role of negative affect and perspective-taking

Nicole T. Sell*, Natalie M. Sisson, Amie M. Gordon, Sarah C. E. Stanton, Emily A. Impett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sleep is an important predictor of social functioning. However, questions remain about how impaired sleep—which is common and detrimental to affective and cognitive functions necessary for providing high quality support—is linked to both the provision and perception of support, especially at the daily level. We tested links between impaired sleep and provided and perceived support in romantic couples, and whether these links were mediated by negative affect and perspective-taking. In preregistered analyses of two 14-day diary studies (Study 1 N = 111 couples; Study 2 N = 100 couples), poor daily subjective sleep quality—but not duration—was associated with less self-reported support toward a partner (in both studies), less perceived support from a partner and less partner-reported support (in Study 1), and partner perceptions of receiving less support (in Study 2). Only greater daily negative affect consistently mediated the association between participants’ impaired sleep (i.e., poor subjective sleep quality and duration) and their own support provision, as well as their partner’s perceptions of received support. Our findings suggest that the effect of sleep on social processes may be strongest for self-reported measures of support and that unique aspects of sleep might be differentially associated with social outcomes given that sleep quality—but not duration—was consistently linked to support outcomes. These findings highlight the psychosocial influences of sleep and negative affect, and may inform approaches to promote supportive partner interactions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAffective Science
Early online date3 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • sleep
  • support
  • negative affect
  • perspective-taking
  • close relationships


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