Skip to main content

Daily physical activity and alcohol use among young adults


Evidence suggests that physical activity and alcohol use are positively related among young adults. Two studies have examined daily relations, and results have shown conflicting findings. We examined relations between physical activity and alcohol use at both within- and between-individual levels and investigated moderators of the relation at both levels. 269 college students wore accelerometers to collect physical activity data over a 2-week period. At the end of each day, they indicated whether or not they drank alcohol. Multilevel logistic regression indicated neither within- nor between-subject relations were statistically significant. Positive affect, negative affect, and drinking motives moderated these relations at the between-subject level. Contrary to previous research, we did not observe a relation between physical activity and alcohol use at the daily level. Unique features of the current study suggest next steps for future research examining the perplexing PA-alcohol relation in this population.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Craig E. Henderson.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Craig E. Henderson, John M. Manning, Cindy M. Davis, David E. Conroy, M. Lee Van Horn, Kim Henry, Tessa Long, Lauren Ryan, Jennifer Boland, Elise Yenne, Maddison Schiafo, Jennifer Waldo, Cody Sze declares that they have no conflict of interest to report.

Human and animal rights and Informed Consent

All research procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Sam Houston State University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Henderson, C.E., Manning, J.M., Davis, C.M. et al. Daily physical activity and alcohol use among young adults. J Behav Med 43, 365–376 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Physical activity
  • Alcohol
  • Young adults
  • Drinking motives
  • Negative affect