Reciprocal relationship between sedentary behavior and mood in young adults over one-year duration

Madison M. DeMello, Bernardine M. Pinto, Shira I. Dunsiger, Robin P. Shook, Stephanie Burgess, Gregory A. Hand, Steven N. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Numerous studies have examined associations between sedentary behavior (SED) and mental health outcomes, however minimal research has investigated the reciprocal relationship between mood and SED. The purpose of this study was to examine the reciprocal relationship of SED with mood in young adults. Methods: 430 adults (49.3% male) aged 21–35 provided valid objective activity data, in addition to an assessment of their mood. SED is defined as less than 1.5 METS (waking hours only). In addition, participants’ mood status (Total Mood Disturbance, TMD) was assessed by the Profile of Mood State (POMS) and total stress was assessed by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). SED was assessed at baseline, 6-months and one-year, while mood and stress were assessed at baseline and one-year. Results: A cross-lagged, autoregressive clustered model was used to examine simultaneous changes over time in both mood and SED allowing for both clustering and adjustment of covariates (e.g., PSS) over time. Data suggests that TMD decreased significantly over one-year, suggesting improvement in mood (p = 0.05). There were positive associations between SED and TMD; this association increased over time (p = 0.04). Mean SED remained stable over the course of the study (p = 0.71). However, higher TMD scores were associated with greater mean SED (p = 0.005), and this association remained stable over the study period (p = 0.95). Conclusion: These results indicate a reciprocal relationship between mood and SED suggesting that a decrease in SED can improve mood, likewise, an improved mood may decrease SED. However, the stronger association is mood status predicting time spent in SED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalMental Health and Physical Activity
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adults
  • Mood
  • Physical inactivity
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Sitting time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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