Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Barber, Larissa K.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Sleep and emotional labor (i.e., emotion regulation at work) are integral to health and job performance. Poor sleep quality has been linked to decreased emotional labor; however, no study has examined the reason for this relationship. This study draws from models of self-regulation to suggest that perceptions of good sleep quality can increase employees’ motivation to exert emotional labor in the absence of display rules (i.e., “display autonomy”), resulting in better emotion performance (i.e., coded affective displays) and health (i.e., decreased emotional exhaustion). College students (N = 205) were randomly assigned to a “display rules” or “display autonomy” condition and a “good sleep quality” or “poor sleep quality” condition (2 x 2 between-subjects design). Participants underwent a call center simulation and were assessed via objective (physiological and behavioral) and subjective (self-report) measures of sleep quality and emotional labor. Results replicated prior research demonstrating participants in the display rules condition reported greater emotional labor compared to participants in a display autonomy condition. Further, surface acting mediated relations among display rules and emotional exhaustion. Decreased heart rate variability was associated with greater use of surface acting emotional labor, whereas deep acting was not associated with heart rate or heart rate variability. Perceptions of sleep quality and objective sleep did not influence emotional labor strategies nor emotion performance during the call center simulation. These results have implications for multimethod research on sleep and emotional labor, as well as understanding when sleep matters for performance.


125 pages




Northern Illinois University

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