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Health Psychol. 2013 Jun;32(6):647-56. doi: 10.1037/a0030129. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

A daily analysis of physical activity and satisfaction with life in emerging adults.

Author information

1
Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. jpm5092@psu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Subjective well-being has well-established positive health consequences. During emerging adulthood, from ages 18 to 25 years, people's global evaluations of their well-being (i.e., satisfaction with life [SWL]) appear to worsen more than any other time in the adult life span, indicating that this population would benefit from strategies to enhance SWL. In these studies, we investigated top-down (i.e., time-invariant, trait-like) and bottom-up (i.e., time-varying, state-like) influences of physical activity (PA) on daily SWL.

METHODS:

Two daily diary studies lasting 8 days (N = 190) and 14 days (N = 63) were conducted with samples of emerging adults enrolled in college to evaluate relations between daily PA and SWL while controlling for established and plausible top-down and bottom-up influences on SWL.

RESULTS:

In both studies, multilevel models indicated that people reported greater SWL on days when they were more active (a within-person, bottom-up effect). Top-down effects of PA were not significant in either study. These findings were robust when we controlled for competing top-down influences (e.g., sex, personality traits, self-esteem, body mass index, mental health symptoms, fatigue) and bottom-up influences (e.g., daily self-esteem, daily mental health symptoms, daily fatigue).

CONCLUSIONS:

We concluded that SWL was impacted by people's daily PA rather than their trait level of PA over time. These findings extend evidence that PA is a health behavior with important consequences for daily well-being and should be considered when developing national policies to enhance SWL.

PMID:
23088171
PMCID:
PMC4104788
DOI:
10.1037/a0030129
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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