Chronic stress and/or lifetime traumatic stress can create a self-reinforcing cycle of unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating and sedentary behavior, that can lead to further increases in stress. This study examined the relationship between stress and sedentary behavior in a sample of Hispanic/Latino adults (N = 4244) from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos Sociocultural Ancillary Study.
Stress was measured as the number of ongoing difficulties lasting 6 months or more and as lifetime exposure to traumatic events. Sedentary behavior was measured by self-report and with accelerometer. Multivariable regression models examined associations of stress measures with time spent in sedentary behaviors adjusting by potential confounders.
Those who reported more than one chronic stressor spent, on average, 8 to 10 additional minutes per day in objectively measured sedentary activities (P < .05), whereas those with more than one lifetime traumatic stressor spent (after we adjusted for confounders) 10 to 14 additional minutes in sedentary activities (P < .01) compared with those who did not report any stressors. Statistical interactions between the 2 stress measures and age or sex were not significant.
Interventions aimed at reducing sedentary behaviors might consider incorporating stress reduction into their approaches.