We examined the within-person longitudinal and bidirectional associations between patterns of sedentary time accumulation [alpha (sedentary bout duration/length), sedentary breaks (number of breaks in sedentary bouts)], and symptoms of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Children [N = 167, 10.1(0.9) years old, 54.5% female, 59.3% Hispanic, 35.9% overweight/obese at baseline] participated in a 3-year longitudinal study that consisted of assessments of sedentary time, and depressive and anxiety symptoms. At each assessment, participants wore accelerometers and completed the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale. Separate random intercept cross-lagged panel models estimated the within-person longitudinal and bidirectional associations between alpha, sedentary breaks, and symptoms of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder across chronological age intervals.
Having greater than one’s own usual depressive symptoms at age 11 was associated with fewer sedentary breaks 1 year later. Having greater than one’s own usual generalized anxiety symptoms at age 11 was associated with longer sedentary bouts and fewer sedentary breaks 1 year later. In contrast, having greater than one’s own usual sedentary breaks at age 10 was associated with fewer generalized anxiety symptoms 1 year later. All other associations, including at younger ages, were null.
Deviations from one’s usual levels of depressive or anxiety symptoms may be important for how sedentary time is subsequently accumulated. Intraindividual processes appear to be at play, therefore more within-person research is needed. Intervention strategies for promoting a healthier accumulation of sedentary time may consider targeting occasions when depressive and anxiety symptoms are greater than usual.