Skip to main content

Positive and Negative Emotions: Differential Associations with Sleep Duration and Quality in Adolescents


Despite positive and negative emotions being equally important predictors of adolescent wellbeing, research examining positive emotions is limited. In 4582 adolescents (69.4% females; age M ± SD= 14.55 ± 1.74 years), we used structural equation modelling to examine associations between self-reported sleep duration and quality with positive affect, negative affect, and happiness, controlling for age and sex. Overall, sleep quality displayed stronger associations with all measures of emotions compared to sleep duration. Shorter sleep was more specifically associated with lower positive emotions (happiness, followed by positive affect), whereas poorer sleep showed stronger associations with negative affect. Protecting sleep duration may promote positive emotions and enhancing sleep quality may reduce mood disturbances. Future research could incorporate both positive and negative emotions to better understand adolescents’ wellbeing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1


Download references

Authors’ Contributions

LS and BB performed statistical analysis, interpretation of data, and drafted the manuscript; JVS conceived of the study, designed and led data collection for the larger study, and provided critical revisions of the manuscript; GD and LB conceived of the study, designed the larger study, and provided critical revisions of the manuscript.


Data collection was supported by in-kind contributions from People Diagnostix. Lin Shen is supported by Monash Graduate Scholarship and Monash International Postgraduate Research Scholarship. Bei Bei is supported by National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) Health Professional Fellowship.

Data Sharing and Declaration

This manuscript's data will not be deposited.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lin Shen.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors report no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures were approved by Murdoch University Human Research Ethics Committee (approval: 2015/231) and in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants and their parent/ guardian prior to study entry.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Shen, L., van Schie, J., Ditchburn, G. et al. Positive and Negative Emotions: Differential Associations with Sleep Duration and Quality in Adolescents. J Youth Adolescence 47, 2584–2595 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Adolescent
  • Sleep
  • Positive affect
  • Negative affect
  • Happiness
  • Positive psychology