Within-Person Link between Depressed Affect and Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity in Adolescence: An Intensive Longitudinal Approach

Nadine Langguth*, Johanna Schmid, Caterina Gawrilow, Gertraud Stadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Background: During adolescence, young women and men frequently show low physical activity and elevated depressed affect. This study aimed to examine the within-person link between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and depressed affect in everyday life. Methods: Within an intensive longitudinal approach, adolescents (N = 72; 37% young women; M age = 17.36 years; age range: 12-26 years; mid-90% age range: 13-22 years) wore accelerometers to assess their daily MVPA and reported next-morning and same-evening depressed affect in diaries over eight consecutive days. The within-person link between MVPA and depressed affect on the next morning (time-lagged prediction) and the same evening (same-day link) was analyzed with mixed-effects models. Results: More-than-usual MVPA significantly predicted less next-morning depressed affect on weekdays in young women, to the extent that a 60-min increase in MVPA over the person mean significantly predicted 50 per cent lower next-morning depressed affect. Conclusions: This study encourages the development of individually tailored physical activity interventions that could help adolescents enhance their daily amount of unstructured, self-initiated MVPA to reduce depressed affect. This approach may be particularly suitable for young women who have the highest risk for an inactive lifestyle and elevated depressed affect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-63
Number of pages20
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

We thank Danijela Bacic, Hannah J€ockel, Lea K€ohler, Katrin Molsen, Marie Landenberger, and Annika Plambeck for their assistance with participant recruitment and data collection, Dale Esliger and Lauren Sherar for processing the accelerometry data, and Matthew Riccio for his helpful comments on the manuscript.


  • Accelerometry
  • Adolescence
  • Depressed affect
  • Intensive longitudinal design
  • Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
  • Within-person link


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