King's College London

Research portal

The association between sedentary behaviour and indicators of stress: a systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Megan Teychenne, Lena D. Stephens, Sarah A. Costigan, Dana Lee Olstad, Brendon Stubbs, Anne I. Turner

Original languageEnglish
Article number1357
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2019

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence shows sedentary behaviour may be associated with mental health outcomes. Yet, the strength of the evidence linking sedentary behaviour and stress is still unclear. This study aimed to synthesise evidence regarding associations between time spent in sedentary behaviour and stress in adults. METHODS: A systematic search was conducted (January 1990 - September 2019). Following PRISMA guidelines, an evaluation of methodological quality, and best-evidence synthesis of associations between time in sedentary behaviour (including sitting time, TV viewing, computer use) and stress were presented. Twenty-six studies reporting on data from n = 72,795 people (age 18-98y, 62.7% women) were included. RESULTS: Across the studies (n = 2 strong-, n = 10 moderate- and n = 14 weak-quality), there was insufficient evidence that overall time spent in sedentary behaviour and sitting time were associated with stress, particularly when using self-report measures of sedentary behaviour or stress. There was strong evidence of no association between TV viewing, or computer use and stress. Amongst studies using objective measures of sedentary behaviour and/or stress there was also strong evidence of no association. CONCLUSION: Although previous research suggested sedentary behaviour may be linked to mental health outcomes such as depression and anxiety, the evidence for an association between various types of sedentary behaviour and stress is limited in quality, and associations are either inconsistent or null. High-quality longitudinal/interventional research is required to confirm findings and determine the direction of associations between different contexts (i.e. purpose) and domains (i.e. leisure, occupational, transport) of sedentary behaviour and stress.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454