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Momentary affective states are associated with momentary volume, prospective trends and fluctuation of daily physical activity

By Martina K. Kanning and Dominik eSchoebi


Several interventions aiming to enhance physical activity in everyday life showed mixed effects. Affective constructs are thought to potentially support health behavior change. However, little is known about within-subject associations between momentary affect and subsequent physical activity in everyday life. This study analyzed the extent to which three dimensions of affective states (valence, calmness, and energetic arousal) were associated with different components of daily activity trajectories. Sixty-five undergraduates’ students (Age: M = 24.6; SD = 3.2; females: 57%) participated in this study. Physical activity was assessed objectively through accelerometers during 24 hours. Affective states assessments were conducted randomly every 45min using an e-diary with a six-item mood scale that was especially designed for ambulatory assessment. We conducted three-level multi-level analyses to investigate the extent to which momentary affect accounted for momentary volume, prospective trends and stability vs. fluctuation of physical activity in everyday life. All three affect dimensions were significantly associated with momentary activity volumes and prospective trends over 45 minute periods. Physical activity didn’t fluctuate freely, but featured significant autocorrelation across repeated measurements, suggesting some stability of physical activity across 5-minute assessments. After adjusting for the autoregressive structure in physical activity assessments, only energetic arousal remained a significant predictor. Feeling energized and awake was associated with an increased momentary volume of activity and initially smaller but gradually growing decreases in subsequent activity within the subsequent 45 minutes. Although not related to trends in physical activity, higher valence predicted lower stability in physical activity across subsequent 45 minutes, suggesting more short-term fluctuations in daily activity the more participants reported positive affective valence.The current analyses afford interesting insight into within-subject associations between momentary affect and activity-trajectories in everyday life. Energetic arousal emerged as the only meaningful predictor of physical activity in daily life after adjusting for autoregression. A significant effect of valence on short-term activity fluctuations might indicate that activity interventions would benefit from taking into account enhancement of positive affective valence in everyday life. Moments of enhanced valence may scaffold attempts helping inactive people to get started with daily activities and overcome periods of inactivity in everyday life

Topics: Affect, Exercise, emotion, Ecological Momentary Assessment, ambulatory assessment, activity-trends, Psychology, BF1-990
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00744
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