Affordable Access

Prospective Associations of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Psychological Distress and Well-Being: A 12-Year Cohort Study

  • Werneck, Andre O;
  • Stubbs, Brendon;
  • Kandola, Aaron;
  • Oyeyemi, Adewale L;
  • Schuch, Felipe B;
  • Hamer, Mark;
  • Vancampfort, Davy; 60570;
  • Silva, Danilo R;
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
External links


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the associations of leisure-time physical activity with psychological distress and well-being, and potential mediators. METHODS: We used data from the 1970 British Cohort Study (n = 5197; 2688 men), including waves 34y (2004), 42y (2012), and 46y (2016). Participants reported leisure-time physical activity frequency and intensity (exposure) at age 34 years (baseline); cognition (vocabulary test), body mass index, disability, mobility and pain perception (potential mediators) at age 42 years; and psychological distress (Malaise Inventory) and well-being (Warwick-Edinburgh scale) at age 46 years. Baseline confounders included sex, country, education, employment status, alcohol use, tobacco smoking, and psychological distress. Main analyses included logistic regression and mediation models. RESULTS: Higher leisure-time physical activity intensity at baseline was associated with lower psychological distress at 46y (β = -0.038 [95% confidence interval {CI} =-0.069 to -0.007]), but not leisure-time physical activity frequency. Baseline leisure-time physical activity frequency and intensity were associated with higher psychological well-being at 46y (frequency: β = 0.089 [95% CI = 0.002 to 0.176]; intensity: β = 0.262 [95% CI = 0.123 to 0.401]); and total: β = 0.041 [95% CI = 0.013 to 0.069]). Only body mass index at 42y partially mediated the association between leisure-time physical activity frequency (15.7%) and total leisure-time physical activity (6.2%) at 34y, with psychological well-being at 46y. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight the role of leisure-time physical activity in psychological distress and well-being, with greater effect sizes associated with higher frequency and intensity of leisure-time physical activity. Future interventions should consider examining potential mediators of the association of leisure-time physical activity with psychological well-being, such as body mass index. / status: published

Report this publication


Seen <100 times