The experience of naturally-occurring stress in daily life has been linked with lower physical activity levels. However, most of this evidence comes from general and static reports of stress. Less is known how different temporal components of everyday stress interfere with physical activity. In a coordinated secondary analysis of data from two studies of adults, we used intensive, micro-longitudinal assessments (ecological momentary assessments, EMA) to investigate how distinct components of everyday stress, that is, reactivity to stressor events, recovery from stressor events, and pileup of stressor events and responses predict physical activity. Results showed that components of everyday stress predicted subsequent physical activity especially for indicators of stress pileup. In both studies, the accumulation of stress responses over the previous 12 h was more predictive of subsequent physical activity than current stress reactivity or recovery responses. Results are compared to the effects of general measures of perceived stress that showed an opposite pattern of results. The novel everyday stress approach used here may be fruitful for generating new insights into physical activity specifically and health behaviors in general.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health