Associations of multiple physical activity domains with mental well-being

Cerin, Ester, Leslie, Eva, Sugiyama, Takemi and Owen, Neville (2009) Associations of multiple physical activity domains with mental well-being. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2 2: 55-64. doi:10.1016/j.mhpa.2009.09.004

Author Cerin, Ester
Leslie, Eva
Sugiyama, Takemi
Owen, Neville
Title Associations of multiple physical activity domains with mental well-being
Journal name Mental Health and Physical Activity   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1755-2966
Publication date 2009-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.mhpa.2009.09.004
Open Access Status
Volume 2
Issue 2
Start page 55
End page 64
Total pages 10
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Physical activity (PA) has consistent associations with mental well-being, but studies have focused primarily on leisure-time activity, and there has been little attention to the roles of other activity domains (household, occupational and transport). We examined the dose–response relationships of PA dimensions (frequency, amount and volume) with mental well-being for all four PA domains. We also assessed the interaction effects of gender, age, body weight status, and PA domains.

In 2003–2004, two surveys collected data on PA, socio-demographics, height and weight, perceived neighborhood attributes, barriers to PA, and physical and mental well-being from 2194 Australian adults. Generalized linear models with restricted cubic splines identified the dose–response relationships of PA domains with mental well-being; the interactive effects of PA domains, age, gender and weight status; and the confounding effects of poor mental or physical health as barriers to PA.

Leisure-time PA was independently linearly related to mental well-being in most demographic groups. Stronger effects were observed for vigorous-intensity leisure-time PA. Poor health as a barrier to PA explained only a small portion of the relationships of PA with mental well-being. The magnitude and direction of the effects of household, occupational and transport PA depended on age, gender, weight status and/or participation in other PA domains.


Individual physical capacities and characteristics, and level of discretionary choice are likely determinants of the effects of PA on mental well-being. Strategies aimed at increasing PA for mental health benefits need to take these diverse and sometimes counterintuitive effects into account.
Keyword SF-12
Demographic characteristics
Body mass index
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Public Health Publications
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