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Title: Within-Person Temporal Associations Among Self-Reported Physical Activity, Sleep, and Well-Being in College Students
ABSTRACT Objective

A holistic understanding of the naturalistic dynamics among physical activity, sleep, emotions, and purpose in life as part of a system reflecting wellness is key to promoting well-being. The main aim of this study was to examine the day-to-day dynamics within this wellness system.


Using self-reported emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, anxiousness) and physical activity periods collected twice per day, and daily reports of sleep and purpose in life via smartphone experience sampling, more than 28 days as college students (n= 226 young adults; mean [standard deviation] = 20.2 [1.7] years) went about their daily lives, we examined day-to-day temporal and contemporaneous dynamics using multilevel vector autoregressive models that consider the network of wellness together.


Network analyses revealed that higher physical activity on a given day predicted an increase of happiness the next day. Higher sleep quality on a given night predicted a decrease in negative emotions the next day, and higher purpose in life predicted decreased negative emotions up to 2 days later. Nodes with the highest centrality were sadness, anxiety, and happiness in the temporal network and purpose in life, anxiety, and anger in the contemporaneous network.


Although the effects of sleep and physical activity on emotions and purpose in life may be shorter term, a sense of purpose in life is a critical component of wellness that can have slightly longer effects, bleeding into the next few days. High-arousal emotions and purpose in life are central to motivating people into action, which can lead to behavior change.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Date Published:
Journal Name:
Psychosomatic Medicine
Page Range / eLocation ID:
141 to 153
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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