Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Kinesiology

Supervisor

Prapavessis, Harry

Abstract

The present study examined relationships between individuals’ perceptions of their level of sedentary behaviour, as compared with other people their age, and mental health and well-being. Adults (n = 374, Mage= 60% between 18 and 24) completed the online Perceived Sedentary Behaviour and Psychological Health Survey which assessed perceptions of sedentary behaviour on a typical weekday and weekend day, mental health and well-being (i.e., depression, state anxiety, perceived stress, mental well-being, mental health function), and potential covariates that have known associations with mental well-being (e.g., sociodemographic characteristics, health status factors, actual sitting time). Perceived sedentary behaviour relative to others on a typical weekend day was a significant predictor of mental health and well-being, whereas weekday perceptions failed to be an influential factor. The research and theory presented here have implications for interventions intended to reduce health risks.

Summary for Lay Audience

Prolonged periods of sitting have been shown to negatively impact physical health and, more recently, psychological health. It is unknown whether individuals’ perceptions – also referred to as mindsets – of the amount of sitting they engage in relative to others influences their mental health and well-being. Based on social comparison theory, people may perceive themselves as more or less sedentary, depending on what they believe is the “right” type and amount of sitting based on social comparisons, and their own unique and local experience. This in turn may influence their mental health to an equal or greater extent than any actual amounts of sitting. Therefore, the present study examined relationships between individuals’ perceptions of sedentary behaviour,as compared with other people their age, and mental health and well-being. Adults completed the online Perceived Sedentary Behaviour and Psychological Health Survey which assessed perceptions of their time spent sitting on a typical weekday and weekend day, mental health and well-being (i.e., depression, state anxiety, perceived stress, mental well-being, mental health function), and potential factors that have known associations with mental well-being (e.g., sociodemographic characteristics, health status factors, actual sitting time). Perceived sedentary behaviour relative to others on a typical weekend day was a significant predictor of mental health and well-being, whereas weekday perceptions were not an influential factor. This area of research highlights the influence of sedentary behaviour perceptions on indices of mental health and well-being and has implications for interventions intended to reduce health risks.

Available for download on Sunday, March 01, 2020

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