The objective of the study was to investigate habitual nightly sleep patterns in the context of daily accounts of relationships with bed partners utilizing the attachment theory framework. Negative exchanges with a spouse are stressful and presumably activate the attachment system. This will differently affect individuals with high and low levels of attachment avoidance and anxiety orientations, affecting their sleep patterns. Seventy-seven teachers in committed romantic relationships (mean age = 42.53 years, 89.3% married) participated. They first completed the Experience in Close Relationships–Revised instrument, indicating their attachment avoidance and anxiety orientations, and then participated in a 4-day diary study, reporting daily levels of negative exchanges with a spouse. They also wore an actigraph (activity monitor) during the nighttime to assess their sleep patterns. Mixed-model analyses revealed that respondents high in attachment avoidance had later bedtimes and shorter sleep duration following days high in negative behavioral exchanges with their spouses. In addition, respondents high in attachment avoidance had longer sleep latency and more waking episodes during the night, regardless of levels of negative exchanges. Individuals high in attachment anxiety had more waking episodes during the night after negative emotional exchanges with a spouse; the opposite pattern emerged for individuals low in attachment anxiety. Findings demonstrate the relevance of attachment orientations and the moderating effects of negative exchanges with a spouse on sleep patterns.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.
- close relationships
- daily dairy methods
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science