Affective experiences and movement-based behaviors form a system that has been shown to influence exercise adherence and mental health outcomes. Little is known about the naturalistic dynamics of the reciprocal associations in this system.
We examined the time intervals at which momentary affect precedes and follows movement-based behaviors in everyday life.
A community sample of working adults (n = 111) completed ecological momentary assessments (EMA) asking about current affect states (sad, happy, tired, and interested) six times a day for three consecutive days. Ratings were used to generate scores for momentary affective arousal and valence. Participants also wore an activity monitor. Total activity counts and sedentary duration in the shorter to longer time intervals (5–120 min) before or after EMA were used as indicators of movement-based behaviors.
Multilevel modeling showed that current affective arousal predicted higher subsequent activity counts in the longer time intervals (120 min) and less subsequent sedentary behavior in the shorter to longer time intervals (5, 60, and 120 min). For the reversed sequence, neither movement-based behavior predicted subsequent momentary arousal or valence. Affective valence was unrelated to movement-based behaviors in either temporal direction.
Some naturally occurring affective experiences (i.e., arousal) might precede, rather than follow, movement-based behaviors. Understanding affective arousal may contribute to improved management of subsequent movement-based behaviors in everyday life.