Article

The cascade of positive events: Does exercise on a given day increase the frequency of additional positive events?

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Abstract

Research suggests exercise promotes well-being while reducing the risk and symptoms of certain psychiatric disorders. Similarly, positive events improve quality of life and may minimize the impact of negative life events; a dearth of positive events is also associated with increased psychiatric symptoms. Thus, increasing physical exercise and the occurrence of positive events is central to well-being promotion. Behavioral activation theory suggests the occurrence of one positive event increases the likelihood of engaging in subsequent positive events. We used a daily diary approach to examine this possible positive cascade, exploring relationships between exercise and positive social and achievement events. For three weeks, participants (N = 179) completed questionnaires at the end of each day. Multi-level modeling analyses revealed that daily exercise predicted increased positive social and achievement events on the same day. Exercise on one day also predicted greater positive social events on the subsequent day. Positive events did not affect exercise on the next day. Findings suggest that exercise creates a positive cascade, increasing positive social and achievement events experienced on the same day and positive social events on the following day.

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I examined correlates of Negative Affect (NA) and Positive Affect (PA) through both within- and between-subjects analyses. Eighty subjects completed a daily questionnaire for 6-8 weeks. Each day they rated (a) their mood, (b) the extent to which they suffered from various minor physical problems, (c) their level of stress, (d) the time they spent socializing, and (e) whether or not they had exercised. Subjects also completed several trait tests measuring their general affective level, frequency of health problems, and social tendencies. A between-subjects analysis showed the expected pattern: Level of physical complaints and perceived stress were correlated with individual differences in NA but not in PA, whereas social indicators and frequency of exercise were related only to PA. The within-subjects results generally exhibited a similar pattern: Social activity and exercise were more strongly related to PA, whereas perceived stress was highly related to NA. However, the most significant finding was that, contrary to prediction, health complaints were as strongly related to intraindividual fluctuations in PA as in NA. Possible interpretations of the observed correlates of NA and PA are discussed.
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Regular physical activity may have psychological benefits. Our study assessed the association between extent of participation in regular sport or vigorous recreational activity and emotional wellbeing in adolescents aged 16 years. Data were collected from a cohort of adolescents, born between April 5 and April 11, 1970, in England, Scotland, and Wales, who took part in the follow-up assessment at age 16 years. Emotional wellbeing was assessed by the general health questionnaire (GHQ) and the malaise inventory (divided into psychological and somatic subscales). Information was obtained about participation in ten team and 25 individual sports and vigorous recreational activities during the previous year. Non-vigorous recreations, such as darts and snooker, were assessed separately. Social class and health status (recent illness and use of hospital services) were included in our analyses as possible confounding factors. 2223 boys and 2838 girls with a mean age of 16.3 years (SD 0.38) were included in our analysis. Statistical analysis was by multiple linear and logistic regression. The sport and vigorous recreational activity index was positively associated with emotional wellbeing independently of sex, social class, health status, and use of hospital services. These associations were significant for the psychological symptom subscale of the malaise inventory (regression coefficient -0.024, 95 percent Cl -0.036 to -0.011, p<0.001) and the GHQ (odds ratio of emotional distress per unit increase in vigorous physical activity 0.992, 95 percent Cl 0.985-0.998, p<O.O1). By contrast, participation in non-vigorous activities was associated with high psychological and somatic symptoms on the malaise inventory. We conclude that emotional wellbeing is positively associated with extent of participation in sport and vigorous recreational activity among adolescents. Although causal associations cannot be assumed in this cross-sectional analysis, our results are consistent with experimental evidence that vigorous exercise has favourable effects on emotional state.
Article
Although the literature on increased physical fitness and psychological outcomes has grown large, a number of methodological limitations remain unaddressed. The present study was designed to address a number of these limitations while examining the short- and long-term psychological effects following completion of a 12-week aerobic fitness program using bicycle ergometry (and confirmed increases in fitness). Following completion of a 12-week aerobic fitness program (and through 12 months of follow-up), 82 adult participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory, Profile of Mood States, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale. Physiological measures used to assess changes in aerobic fitness were maximal work load, submaximal heart rate at a standard work load, predicted maximum oxygen uptake, and resting heart rate. Exercise participants experienced a positive fitness change and psychological improvement over the initial 12-week program compared to a control group. At 1 year follow-up, physiological and psychological benefits remained significantly improved from baseline. Overall, results indicate that exercise-induced increases in aerobic fitness have beneficial short-term and long-term effects on psychological outcomes. We postulate that participants in the exercise group did not increase the amount of weekly exercise they performed over the 12-month follow-up period and thus the maintenance of the psychological improvements occurred concurrent with equal or lesser amounts of exercise.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine the exercise dose-response issue in a sample of 121 regular exercisers categorized as relatively low, moderate, or high dosage physical activity participants. Male and female students, faculty, and staff of a midwestern university, currently engaging in various exercise modalities at least two times per week, were assessed on a variety of factors hypothesized to impact one's degree of exercise involvement. ANOVA procedures indicated that low and high dosage groups differed significantly on the variables of age, exercise history, positive affect, and the locus of causality and stability attributional dimensions. Groups did not differ significantly in terms of body mass index, exercise efficacy, perceptions of either personal or external control over exercise behavior, or negative affective reactions to exercise behavior. Taken together, the findings of this study suggest that individuals who exercise at varying doses of physical activity may be differentiated by certain demographic, behavioral, physiological, and psychological variables.
Article
In the past decade, there has been renewed interest in the feasibility and efficacy of purely behavioral treatments for clinical depression. Emphasizing the functional aspects of depressive and nondepressive behavior, these treatments focus on the concept of behavioral activation, which guides implementation of procedures aimed at increasing patient activity and access to reinforcement. Although researchers have provided positive preliminary support for behavioral activation-based interventions, many fundamental issues concerning strategies, principles, and change processes involved in behavioral activation have yet to be addressed. In this paper, we compare and contrast contemporary behavioral activation interventions, explore strategies and process of change issues, clarify the basic behavioral principles underlying activation strategies, and outline questions that need to be addressed to improve outcomes and better understand the potential significance of behavioral activation as it pertains to the future of behavior therapy for depression.
Article
The broaden-and-build theory describes the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment and love. A key proposition is that these positive emotions broaden an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire: joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savour and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships. The broadened mindsets arising from these positive emotions are contrasted to the narrowed mindsets sparked by many negative emotions (i.e. specific action tendencies, such as attack or flee). A second key proposition concerns the consequences of these broadened mindsets: by broadening an individual's momentary thought-action repertoire--whether through play, exploration or similar activities--positive emotions promote discovery of novel and creative actions, ideas and social bonds, which in turn build that individual's personal resources; ranging from physical and intellectual resources, to social and psychological resources. Importantly, these resources function as reserves that can be drawn on later to improve the odds of successful coping and survival. This chapter reviews the latest empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory and draws out implications the theory holds for optimizing health and well-being.
Article
This study, conducted between 1998 and 2001 and analyzed in 2002 and 2003, was designed to test (1) whether exercise is an efficacious treatment for mild to moderate major depressive disorder (MDD), and (2) the dose-response relation of exercise and reduction in depressive symptoms. The study was a randomized 2x2 factorial design, plus placebo control. All exercise was performed in a supervised laboratory setting with adults (n =80) aged 20 to 45 years diagnosed with mild to moderate MDD. Participants were randomized to one of four aerobic exercise treatment groups that varied total energy expenditure (7.0 kcal/kg/week or 17.5 kcal/kg/week) and frequency (3 days/week or 5 days/week) or to exercise placebo control (3 days/week flexibility exercise). The 17.5-kcal/kg/week dose is consistent with public health recommendations for physical activity and was termed "public health dose" (PHD). The 7.0-kcal/kg/week dose was termed "low dose" (LD). The primary outcome was the score on the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD(17)). The main effect of energy expenditure in reducing HRSD(17) scores at 12 weeks was significant. Adjusted mean HRSD(17) scores at 12 weeks were reduced 47% from baseline for PHD, compared with 30% for LD and 29% for control. There was no main effect of exercise frequency at 12 weeks. Aerobic exercise at a dose consistent with public health recommendations is an effective treatment for MDD of mild to moderate severity. A lower dose is comparable to placebo effect.
Article
The relation between social anxiety and hedonic activity remains poorly understood. From a self-regulatory perspective, we hypothesized that socially anxious individuals experience diminished positive experiences and events on days when they are unable to manage socially anxious feelings adequately. In this 21-day experience-sampling study, we constructed daily measures of social anxiety and emotion regulation. Greater dispositional social anxiety was associated with less positive affect and fewer positive events in everyday life. Among individuals defined as socially anxious from their scores on a global self-report measure of social anxiety, the number of positive events was lowest on days when they both were more socially anxious and tended to suppress emotions and highest on days when they were less socially anxious and more accepting of emotional experiences. Irrespective of dispositional social anxiety, participants reported the most intense positive emotions on the days when they were both least socially anxious and most accepting of emotional experiences. Possible clinical implications are discussed.
Article
The objective of this study was to determine the association between regular physical activity and mental disorders among adults in the United States. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to compare the prevalence of mental disorders among those who did and did not report regular physical activity using data from the National Comorbidity Survey (n = 8098), a nationally representative sample of adults ages 15-54 in the United States. Slightly over one-half of adults reported regular physical activity (60.3%). Regular physical activity was associated with a significantly decreased prevalence of current major depression and anxiety disorders, but was not significantly associated with other affective, substance use, or psychotic disorders. The association between regular physical activity and lower prevalence of current major depression (OR = 0.75 (0.6,0.94)), panic attacks (OR = 0.73 (0.56, 0.96)), social phobia (OR = 0.65 (0.53, 0.8)), specific phobia (OR = 0.78 (0.63, 0.97)), and agoraphobia (OR = 0.64 (0.43, 0.94)) persisted after adjusting for differences in sociodemographic characteristics, self-reported physical disorders, and comorbid mental disorders. Self-reported frequency of physical activity also showed a dose-response relation with current mental disorders. These data document a negative association between regular physical activity and depressive and anxiety disorders among adults in the U.S. population. Future research that investigates the mechanism of this association using longitudinal data to examine the link between physical activity and incident and recurrent mental disorders across the lifespan is needed.
Article
Numerous theories in social and health psychology assume that intentions cause behaviors. However, most tests of the intention- behavior relation involve correlational studies that preclude causal inferences. In order to determine whether changes in behavioral intention engender behavior change, participants should be assigned randomly to a treatment that significantly increases the strength of respective intentions relative to a control condition, and differences in subsequent behavior should be compared. The present research obtained 47 experimental tests of intention-behavior relations that satisfied these criteria. Meta-analysis showed that a medium-to-large change in intention (d = 0.66) leads to a small-to-medium change in behavior (d = 0.36). The review also identified several conceptual factors, methodological features, and intervention characteristics that moderate intention-behavior consistency.
Article
Activity scheduling is a behavioral treatment of depression in which patients learn to monitor their mood and daily activities, and how to increase the number of pleasant activities and to increase positive interactions with their environment. We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized effect studies of activity scheduling. Sixteen studies with 780 subjects were included. The pooled effect size indicating the difference between intervention and control conditions at post-test was 0.87 (95% CI: 0.60 - 1.15). This is a large effect. Heterogeneity was low in all analyses. The comparisons with other psychological treatments at post-test resulted in a non-significant pooled effect size of 0.13 in favor of activity scheduling. In ten studies activity scheduling was compared to cognitive therapy, and the pooled effect size indicating the difference between these two types of treatment was 0.02. The changes from post-test to follow-up for activity scheduling were non-significant, indicating that the benefits of the treatments were retained at follow-up. The differences between activity scheduling and cognitive therapy at follow-up were also non-significant. Activity scheduling is an attractive treatment for depression, not only because it is relatively uncomplicated, time-efficient and does not require complex skills from patients or therapist, but also because this meta-analysis found clear indications that it is effective.
Physical Activity. (Retrieved from http
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Physical Activity. (Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/).