Associations between sedentary time and momentary mood in daily life are independent of contextual factors

  • Carina Nigg Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern, Switzerland & Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Amie Wallman-Jones
  • Marco Giurgiu Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Mirko Schmidt Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern, Switzerland
  • Valentin Benzing Institute of Sport Science, University of Bern, Switzerland
Keywords: ecological momentary assessment, sedentary behavior, physical activity, mood, stress



First studies indicate that sedentary time relates negatively to mood in everyday life (Giurgiu et al., 2019). Less is known regarding how these relationships are moderated by contextual factors, such as social situation and environmental location, which are factors that may reinforce or mitigate the negative association between sedentary time and mood and hence may provide potential to intervene upon the negative effects of sedentary behavior. Hence, this study aimed to explore the interplay between sedentary time and contextual factors regarding momentary mood in everyday life.


We recruited 73 university students (48% female, Mage = 21.64 ±2.52 years, MBMI = 22.88 ±2.26) to participate in an observational ambulatory assessment study. We continuously measured sedentary time and physical activity via a thigh-worn accelerometer for seven consecutive days. Participants filled in an established momentary mood questionnaire up to ten times a day on movement-triggered e-diaries. In addition, they reported their social company (alone vs. with others) and their location (indoor vs. outdoors) during the 15 min time frame preceding the prompt. We analyzed the data using multilevel modeling.

Results: Analyzing the 15 min prior the e-diary prompt, main effects models revealed that sedentary time was associated with decreased energetic arousal only (B = -0.57, p < 0.001). Being with others compared to being alone was associated with increased valence (B = 2.96, p < 0.001), energetic arousal (B = 1.93, p = 0.032), and increased calmness (B = 3.89, p < 0.001). Location was unrelated to all mood dimensions. Moderation analysis did not show significant interactions between sedentary time and both the social situation and the location.


Both sedentary time and social company are associated with mood in everyday life, however, in this study, these associations appear to be independent of each other. For energetic arousal, this may indicate that the mechanisms by which sedentary time influences energetic arousal is predominantly physiological (Thyfault et al., 2015), leaving little room for influence from contextual factors. While this study investigated two well-known contextual factors, future studies should expand this research to other contextual factors (e.g., noise assessment, air pollution) and apply more fine-grained objective measures of contextual factors instead of self-report, such as continuous geolocation tracking for the assessment of the environmental location or noise assessment. This may help to identify factors that mitigate the negative effects of sedentary behavior on mood and provide a basis for developing guidelines regarding sedentary behavior.


Giurgiu, M., Koch, E. D., Ottenbacher, J., Plotnikoff, R. C., Ebner‐Priemer, U. W., & Reichert, M. (2019). Sedentary behavior in everyday life relates negatively to mood: An ambulatory assessment study. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 29(9), 1340-1351.

Thyfault, J. P., Du, M., Kraus, W. E., Levine, J. A., & Booth, F. W. (2015). Physiology of sedentary behavior and its relationship to health outcomes. Medicine & Science in & Exercise, 47(6), 1301-1305.

How to Cite
Nigg, C., Wallman-Jones, A., Giurgiu, M., Schmidt, M., & Benzing, V. (2023). Associations between sedentary time and momentary mood in daily life are independent of contextual factors. Current Issues in Sport Science (CISS), 8(2), 052.