Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 52–61 | Cite as

Linking Stable and Dynamic Features of Positive Affect to Sleep

  • Anthony D. OngEmail author
  • Deinera Exner-Cortens
  • Catherine Riffin
  • Andrew Steptoe
  • Alex Zautra
  • David M. Almeida
Original Article



Poor sleep contributes to adult morbidity and mortality.


The study examined the extent to which trait positive affect (PA) and PA reactivity, defined as the magnitude of change in daily PA in response to daily events, were linked to sleep outcomes.


Analyses are based on data from 100 respondents selected from the National Survey of Midlife in the United States.


Multilevel analyses indicated that higher levels of trait PA were associated with greater morning rest and better overall sleep quality. In contrast, PA reactivity was associated with diminished sleep efficiency. Finally, interactions between PA reactivity and trait PA emerged on all three sleep measures, such that higher event-related change in daily positive affect was associated with impaired sleep, especially among individuals high in trait PA.


Results suggest that high trait PA, when coupled with high PA reactivity, may contribute to poor sleep.


Trait positive affect Positive affect reactivity Sleep 


Author Note

We extend thanks to Gary Evans, Anthony Burrow, and Thomas Fuller-Rowell for their helpful comments on previous versions of this article.

Anthony D. Ong, Cornell University, Department of Human Development, Cornell University. Deinera Exner-Cortens, Department of Human Development and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University. Catherine Riffin, Department of Human Development and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University. Andrew Steptoe, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London. Alex Zautra, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University. David M. Almeida, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (P01 AG020166, R01 AG019239) to conduct a longitudinal follow-up of the MIDUS (Midlife in the U.S.) investigation and a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health (T32 MH18931). Support was also given to the second author through a Doctoral Foreign Study Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The original study was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Anthony D. Ong, Department of Human Development, G77 Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853–4401.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony D. Ong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deinera Exner-Cortens
    • 1
  • Catherine Riffin
    • 1
  • Andrew Steptoe
    • 1
  • Alex Zautra
    • 1
  • David M. Almeida
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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