Our aim was to investigate the prevalence of psychological disorders, sleep disturbance, and stressful life events in Chinese patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and healthy controls, to assess the correlation between psychological and disease-related variables, and finally to detect powerful factors in predicting anxiety and depression. AS patients diagnosed with the modified New York criteria and healthy controls were enrolled from China. Participants completed a set of questionnaires, including demographic and disease parameters, Zung self-rating anxiety scale (SAS), Zung self-rating depression scale (SDS), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index questionnaire (PSQI), and the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS). The relationship between psychological and other variables was explored. Stepwise multiple regression was used to determine the contributors to each disorder. Of all the 2772 AS patients, 79.1% were male. Mean age was 28.99 ± 8.87 years. Prevalence of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance was 31.6% (95% CI, 29.9, to 33.4), 59.3% (95% CI, 57.5, to 61.2), and 31.0% (95% CI, 29.3, to 36.7), respectively. 35.3% had stimulus of psychological and social elements (SPSE). Compared with healthy controls, AS patients had more severe psychological disorders, sleep disturbance, and stressful life events (P < 0.01). SDS, overall pain, BASFI, and sleep disturbance were significant contributors of the SAS scores (P < 0.03). SAS, less years of education, and sleep duration were significant contributors of SDS (P < 0.01). AS patients had more anxiety, depression, stressful life events, and sleep disturbance than healthy controls. Pain, functional limitation, sleep disturbance, and education were major contributors to psychological disorders.