, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 643-661

Effects of environmental demands, stress, and mood on health practices

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The present study examined how environmental demands, stress, and positive and negative affect were related to health practices. College undergraduates (N=79) completed measures of stress, mood, and health practices during periods of low and high academic demands. Positive affect was positively related to exercise, nutrition, self-care practices, and overall health practices at two measurement points. Levels of stress (daily hassles, perceived stress, academic stress) increased over time, but increases in daily hassles and perceived stress were unrelated to health practices. Increases in academic demands completed in the previous week were associated with improvements in nutrition and self-care practices, greater drug avoidance, and greater overall health practices. This pattern indicates that a “rebound effect” may occur after high demand periods, during which individuals engage in more health-promoting activities. The results also suggest that the determinants of positive health practices may differ from those of negative health practices.