Ecological momentary assessment of mood and physical activity in people with depression

Laura Hollands* (Corresponding Author), Jeffrey Lambert, Lisa Price, Daniel Powell, Colin Greaves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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: This study aimed to examine temporal associations between physical activity and subsequent mood in people with moderate to severe depression.

: The study used ecological momentary assessment to associate mood, measured via text messaging twice daily for five days, using a 10-point Likert scale, with objectively measured physical activity (accelerometer data) in people with moderate-to-severe depression. Multilevel regression models were used to explore the relationship between physical activity undertaken at different intensities over the previous one and three hours, and subsequent affect score. A total of 388 paired data points were collected from 43 participants.

: There was no association between minutes of moderate-vigorous physical activity in the previous hour and subsequent affect score (which we had hypothesised). However, exploratory analyses found a significant relationship between affect and combined physical activity in the previous hour (β1 coefficient = 0.023, p = 0.037).

: Periods of moderate-vigorous activity were infrequent, reducing the statistical power for analysing associations with this intensity of activity. Only one dimension of mood was sampled.

: The data suggest that, in people with moderate-to-severe depression, time spent engaging in any intensity of physical activity was significantly associated with subsequent mood. Further research is needed to more clearly define the dynamics of the relationship between physical activity and low mood. This will aid identification of optimal prescription criteria for physical activity in people with depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date17 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Role of the Funding Source
Jeffrey Lambert's time input was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC Grant Number: ES/J50015X/1). Daniel Powell is supported by the strategic research programme funded by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division.

Author Statement
Contributors: LH conducted the analyses and drafted the manuscript. JL contributed to data collection and the design of the study. LP extracted the accelerometry data and provided accelerometry expertise. DP conducted the statistical reanalysis in the revised version of the manuscript. CG contributed to the design the study and provided overall supervision. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.


  • ecological monetary assessment
  • depression
  • physical activity
  • affect
  • accelometry
  • Physical activity


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