Back to Journals » Psychology Research and Behavior Management » Volume 12

Domain-specific and total sedentary behaviors associated with psychological distress in older adults

Authors Štefan L, Baić M, Sporiš G, Pekas D, Starčević N

Received 6 December 2018

Accepted for publication 22 January 2019

Published 5 April 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 219—228


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Lovro Štefan,1 Mario Baić,2 Goran Sporiš,1 Damir Pekas,2 Nikola Starčević2

1Faculty of Kinesiology, Department of General and Applied Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia; 2Faculty of Kinesiology, Department of Sport Kinesiology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Purpose: Time spent in sedentary behaviors has become a major public health problem, affecting both physical and mental conditions, which is regularly evident in older adults. The aim of this study was to explore the association between each domain-specific sedentary behavior (screen-time, leisure-time sedentary behavior and transport) and total sedentary behavior (sum of all indicators) with “high” psychological distress among older individuals.
Patients and methods: In this cross-sectional study, we recruited 810 participants aged ≥85 (16% men) from 6 neighborhoods in the city of Zagreb. We used Measure of Older Adults’ Sedentary Time sedentary behavior questionnaire to assess the time spent in a specific domain of sedentary behavior and Kessler K6 scale to assess the level of psychological distress. Participants who had a score ≥13 points were treated as those with “high” psychological distress. Generalized estimating equations with Poisson regression models and risk ratios were used to calculate the association.
Results: After adjusting for sex, body mass index, sleep quality, self-rated health, material status, physical activity, diet and chronic diseases, participants categorized in the second, third and fourth quartile of screen-time, in the fourth quartile of leisure-time sedentary behavior and in the third and fourth quartile of total sedentary behavior were less likely to have “high” psychological distress. However, participants categorized in the fourth quartile of transport were more likely to have “high” psychological distress.
Conclusion: Our study shows that more time spent in front of screens, leisure and in total sedentary behavior is associated with lower levels, while more time spent in transport is associated with higher levels of psychological distress, pointing out that the aforementioned associations remained even after adjusting for variables describing “general” physical health. Thus, strategies aiming to reduce the time spent in passive transport and enhance active transport in a sample of older adults are warranted.

Keywords: geriatrics, mental health, sitting, associations, generalized estimating equations

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]