Internalizing and externalizing traits predict changes in sleep efficiency in emerging adulthood: an actigraphy study. Academic Article uri icon


  • Research on psychopathology and experimental studies of sleep restriction support a relationship between sleep disruption and both internalizing and externalizing disorders. The objective of the current study was to extend this research by examining sleep, impulsivity, antisocial personality traits, and internalizing traits in a university sample. Three hundred and eighty six individuals (161 males) between the ages of 18 and 27 years (M = 18.59, SD = 0.98) wore actigraphs for 7 days and completed established measures of disorder-linked personality traits and sleep quality (i.e., Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), Triarchic Psychopathy Measure, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale-11, and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index). As expected, sleep measures and questionnaire scores fell within the normal range of values and sex differences in sleep and personality were consistent with previous research results. Similar to findings in predominantly male forensic psychiatric settings, higher levels of impulsivity predicted poorer subjective sleep quality in both women and men. Consistent with well-established associations between depression and sleep, higher levels of depression in both sexes predicted poorer subjective sleep quality. Bidirectional analyses showed that better sleep efficiency decreases depression. Finally, moderation analyses showed that gender does have a primary role in sleep efficiency and marginal effects were found. The observed relations between sleep and personality traits in a typical university sample add to converging evidence of the relationship between sleep and psychopathology and may inform our understanding of the development of psychopathology in young adulthood.

published proceedings

  • Front Psychol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Yaugher, A. C., & Alexander, G. M.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Yaugher, Ashley C||Alexander, Gerianne M

publication date

  • January 2015