Doctor of Philosophy
Sedentary behavior (SB) describes any waking behavior that is low energy and performed in a sitting, lying, or reclining posture. The average Canadian spends over 9.5 hours sedentary per day, with populations like university students reporting over 11 hours per day. Detrimental associations between excessive, long-term SB and chronic disease risk are well-established. However, relationships between SB and subjective well-being (SWB) are less clear. SWB is typically conceptualized as either (i) hedonic well-being, whereby ideal SWB is achieved through optimizing affect (i.e., mood) and life satisfaction; or (ii) eudaimonic well-being, whereby ideal SWB is achieved through self-actualization and purpose. Current literature surrounding the relationship between SB and SWB is conflicting. Hence, the objective of this dissertation was to explore the relationships between SB and SWB. To this end, three studies were conducted. Study 1 mapped the current literature that examined indices of SB (i.e., objectively-measured and self-reported SB and physical inactivity, and screen time) and outcomes of hedonic well-being (i.e., affect, life satisfaction) through a scoping review. Findings revealed a weak detrimental association between indices of SB and outcomes of SWB – however, little research actually examining SB exists. Study 2 built upon the dearth of research examining SB and SWB through a cross-sectional survey. Specifically, relationships between total, self-compared, and domain-specific SB and breaks from SB and outcomes of SWB were examined among a national sample of university students. Findings reflect the weak detrimental association in previous literature; however, self-compared SB, breaks from SB, and some domains of SB exhibited larger associations with outcomes of SWB than total SB. Study 3 aimed to evaluate the preliminary effectiveness of an acute SB-reducing intervention on outcomes of SWB among a sample of sedentary university students. Although the intervention provided only weak evidence for effectiveness, change correlations and its interplay with intervention effectiveness revealed objectively-measured, total, and self-compared SB as well as breaks from SB, to be salient targets for intervention. Findings from this work inform the effectiveness of future SB-reducing interventions, which help to elucidate the directionality and causality of relationships between SB and SWB.
Summary for Lay Audience
Sedentary behavior (SB) describes the majority of behaviors we perform, such as sitting, lying, and reclining. Between all the domains of sitting (e.g., transportation, screen time, occupation) the average Canadian sits for over 9.5 hours per day, with some groups, like office workers and university students, sitting for even longer. Excessive sitting is a health concern as prolonged SB has been associated with increased risk of chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension) and all-cause mortality. However, the relationship between SB and subjective well-being is less clear. Subjective well-being (SWB), generally, describes an individual’s self-evaluation of their life, and can be split into hedonic well-being and eudaimonic well-being. Hedonic well-being proposes that SWB is optimized when one’s affect (i.e., mood) and life satisfaction are optimized. While similar, eudaimonic well-being proposes that SWB is optimized through purpose, subjective vitality, and realizing oneself. Regardless of perspective, research surrounding relationships between SB and SWB is unclear. As such, the purpose of this dissertation was to explore the relationships between SB and SWB. Study 1 mapped relationships between indices of SB (e.g., SB, physical inactivity, screen time) and hedonic well-being within the current literature through a scoping review. Findings revealed weak detrimental associations between SB and outcomes of hedonic well-being, but the specific domain of sitting impacted this relationship. Study 2 more specifically examined relationships between total and domain-specific SB and outcomes of SWB through a survey. Findings reinforced relationships observed in study 1, as well as highlighted the importance of self-compared sitting time, breaks from sitting, and certain domains of SB (e.g., screen time). Study 3 determined the early effectiveness of a short-term SB-reducing intervention in a sample of university students through a randomized pilot trial. While the intervention was ineffective, analyses revealed that device-measured SB, total reported sitting, self-compared sitting, and breaks from sitting were all important components of interventions aimed at modifying SWB. Overall, SB appears to be weakly, detrimentally associated with outcomes of SWB; however, specific domains of SB, self-compared SB, breaks from sitting, and changes from one’s typical SB demonstrated stronger relationships with outcomes of SWB.
Sui, Wuyou -., "Exploring the Relationship Between Sedentary Behavior and Subjective Well-Being" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7261.
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