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Real-Time Data Collection to Examine Relations Between Physical Activity and Affect in Adults With Mental Illness

Danielle R. Madden, Chun Nok Lam, Brian Redline, Eldin Dzubur, Harmony Rhoades, Stephen S. Intille, Genevieve F. Dunton, and Benjamin Henwood

Adults with serious mental illness engage in limited physical activity, which contributes to significant health disparities. This study explored the use of both ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) and activity trackers in adults with serious mental illness to examine the bidirectional relationship between activity and affect with multilevel modeling. Affective states were assessed up to seven times per day using EMA across 4 days. The participants (n = 20) were equipped with a waist-worn accelerometer to measure moderate to vigorous physical activity. The participants had a mean EMA compliance rate of 88.3%, and over 90% of completed EMAs were matched with 30-min windows of accelerometer wear. The participants who reported more positive affect than others had a higher probability of engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Engaging in more moderate to vigorous physical activity than one’s usual was associated with more negative affect. This study begins to address the effect of momentary mood on physical activity in a population of adults that is typically difficult to reach.

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Motivational Profile as a Predictor of Physical Activity Among US Adults During the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Daily Diary Study

Kristen N. Moore, Kayla Nuss, Bridgette Do, Shirlene D. Wang, Kaigang Li, Dan J. Graham, Genevieve F. Dunton, and Jimikaye B. Courtney

This study used a daily diary approach to examine associations between day-level physical activity (PA) behavior, PA-specific motivational profile, and days since the COVID-19 national emergency declaration during the early months (April–June 2020) of the pandemic. A total of 468 US adults (M age = 34.8 y, 79% female) participated in a 28-day smartphone-based daily diary study assessing PA. A baseline survey assessed PA and motivation for PA using the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire. Multilevel linear regression models examined the main effects and interactions of motivational profile and time (days since the US March 13, 2020, COVID-19 national emergency declaration) on daily PA minutes. Latent profile analysis identified 4 distinct motivational profiles for PA among this sample: profile 1: high amotivation (n = 100, 21%); profile 2: low controlled motivation (n = 55, 12%); profile 3: high external regulation (n = 47, 10%); and profile 4: moderate autonomous motivation (n = 266, 57%). After controlling for baseline PA, there were significant interactions between profile and time on daily PA (−0.21, P < .01). Profile 2 showed greater decreases in daily PA minutes over time than profile 1 (b = −0.29, P < .01). Profiles 3 and 4 did not indicate significant decreases in PA compared with profile 1 (b = 0.14, P = .31 and b = −0.16, P = .05, respectively). Contrary to previous research, individuals with lower controlled or moderate autonomous motivation demonstrated the largest decreases in PA over time, whereas individuals with higher amotivation or external regulation demonstrated smaller decreases over time. These findings suggest that external motivation may have provided short-term protection against declines in PA observed during early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.