Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Gregory L. Stuart

Committee Members

Todd Moore, Ralph Lydic

Abstract

College populations evidenced an elevated risk of impaired sleep, with 60% of college students showing disturbed sleep patterns. While more sleep was correlated with better emotional and psychological functioning, sleep deprivation was associated with higher levels of perceived psychological distress. Not surprisingly, sleep impairment affects the capacity for emotion regulation. When examined in experimental, lab-based paradigms and cross-sectional survey studies, sleep impairment and emotion dysregulation was associated with violence perpetration, including intimate partner violence (IPV). It follows that sleep impairment may increase risk for IPV perpetration through its effects on emotion dysregulation. The current study aims to tested the hypothesis that impaired sleep promotes emotion dysregulation and IPV. Gender and site differences were also examined. The data obtained from students (n = 1018) at two universities, were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The results revealed significant paths from sleep quality to emotion dysregulation to psychological aggression perpetration and separately to physical assault perpetration. No site differences were evidenced and, as hypothesized, there were no gender differences. Findings expand current conceptualizations of IPV by the addition of sleep quality and emotion dysregulation in a single model. Support for the association between sleep impairment and emotion dysregulation within a mediation model for IPV suggested that both constructs may be potential points for intervention after the onset of IPV as well as for prevention efforts that would teach such skills prior to onset. Limitations regarding the sample and study design are discussed along with areas for future research.

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