Sleep leadership in high-risk occupations: An Investigation of soldiers on peacekeeping and combat missions

Brian C. Gunia, Maurice L. Sipos, Matthew LoPresti, Amy B. Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Individuals in high-risk occupations (e.g., military service) often report physical, psychological, and organizational problems. Although leaders can partially buffer their subordinates against these problems, the impact of established leadership skills appears limited, especially in high-risk occupations. Thus, building on recent theories of domain-specific leadership, we examined whether leadership focused on the specific domain of sleep might be negatively associated with some specific problems facing individuals in high-risk occupations, beyond their relationship with general leadership. Studying military personnel on peacekeeping and combat deployments, we predicted that "sleep leadership" would be negatively associated with sleep problems (physical), depressive symptoms (psychological), and negative climate (organizational), and that sleep would mediate the relationship between sleep leadership and the psychological and organizational problems. Results were generally supportive, contributing to theories of domain-specific leadership by showing that sleep-focused leader behaviors may go beyond general leadership behaviors, relating directly to the problems facing individuals in high-risk occupations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalMilitary Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2015


  • Combat
  • Leadership
  • Peacekeeping
  • Sleep
  • Unit climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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