Day-to-day variations in health behaviors and daily functioning: two intensive longitudinal studies

Abstract

In two intensive longitudinal studies we examined the daily dynamics in health behaviors and their associations with two important indicators of young adults’ daily functioning, namely, affect and academic performance. Over a period of 8 months, university students (Study 1: N = 292; Study 2: N = 304) reported sleep, physical activity, snacking, positive and negative affect, and learning goal achievement. A subsample wore an actigraph to provide an additional measurement of sleep and physical activity and participated in a controlled laboratory snacking situation. Multilevel structural equation models showed that better day-to-day sleep quality or more physical activity than usual, but not snacking, were associated with improved daily functioning, namely, affect and learning goal achievement. Importantly, self-report measurements of health behaviors correlated with behavioral measurements. These findings have the potential to inform health promotion programs aimed at supporting young adults in their daily functioning in good physical and mental health.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by Grant 140991 of the Swiss National Science Foundation and a grant by the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft Basel from March 13, 2012.

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Correspondence to Lavinia Flueckiger.

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Lavinia Flueckiger, Roselind Lieb, Andrea H. Meyer, Cornelia Witthauer, and Jutta Mata declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standard. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Flueckiger, L., Lieb, R., Meyer, A.H. et al. Day-to-day variations in health behaviors and daily functioning: two intensive longitudinal studies. J Behav Med 40, 307–319 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-016-9787-x

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Keywords

  • Sleep quality
  • Physical activity
  • Snacking
  • Affect
  • Learning goal achievement
  • Multilevel structural equation model