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Non-Occupational Sitting and Mental Well-Being in Employed Adults



Emerging evidence suggests that sedentary behaviour may be adversely associated with physical health, but few studies have examined the association with mental well-being.


This study examined the association of four non-occupational sedentary behaviours, individually and in total, with mental well-being in employed adults.


Baseline data from the evaluation of Well@Work, a national workplace health promotion project conducted in the UK, were used. Participants self-reported sitting time whilst watching television, using a computer, socialising and travelling by motorised transport. Mental well-being was assessed by the 12-item version of the general health questionnaire. Analyses were conducted using multiple linear regression.


In models adjusted for multiple confounders, TV viewing, computer use and total non-occupational sitting time were adversely associated with general health questionnaire-12 assessed mental well-being in women. Computer use only was found to be adversely associated with mental well-being in men.


Sedentary behaviour may be adversely associated with mental well-being in employed adults. The association may be moderated by gender.

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The Well@Work evaluation project was funded by Department of Health, Sport England, BIG Lottery and British Heart Foundation.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors have no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.

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Correspondence to Andrew J. Atkin Ph.D..

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Atkin, A.J., Adams, E., Bull, F.C. et al. Non-Occupational Sitting and Mental Well-Being in Employed Adults. ann. behav. med. 43, 181–188 (2012).

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  • Sedentary behaviour
  • Sitting time
  • Mental well-being
  • Effect modification