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Sedentary behavior and anxiety: Association and influential factors among 42,469 community-dwelling adults in six low- and middle-income countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

D. Vancampfort, B. Stubbs, M.P. Herring, M. Hallgren, A. Koyanagi

Original languageEnglish
Early online date29 Sep 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Sep 2017


King's Authors


Objective This study investigated the association between sedentary behavior (SB) and anxiety, and explored factors that influence this relationship in six low- and middle-income countries. Method Cross-sectional data were analyzed from the World Health Organization's Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health. Multivariable linear and logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between anxiety and self-reported SB. Potentially influential factors were examined with mediation analysis. Results The sample consisted of 42,469 adults aged ≥ 18 years (50.1% female; mean age 43.8 years). After adjusting for sociodemographics and country, people with anxiety engaged in 24 (95%CI = 7–41) more minutes per day of SB than non-anxious individuals; the corresponding figure for the elderly (≥ 65 years) was much higher (55 min; 95% CI = 29–81). Anxiety was associated with a 2.0 (95%CI = 1.5–2.7) times higher odds for high SB (i.e., ≥ 8 h/day). Overall, the largest proportion of the high SB-anxiety relationship was explained by mobility limitations (46.8%), followed by impairments in sleep/energy (44.9%), pain/discomfort (31.7%), disability (27.0%), cognition (13.3%), and physical activity levels (6.3%). Conclusions Anxiety was significantly associated with high SB, particularly among older adults. Future longitudinal studies are warranted to disentangle the potentially complex interplay of factors that may influence the anxiety-SB relationship.

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