Preprint / Version 1

24-hour movement guideline adherence and mental health

A cross-sectional study of emerging adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities


  • Carah Porter The University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Patrick McPhee
  • Matthew Kwan
  • Brian Timmons
  • Denver Brown The University of Texas at San Antonio



physical activity, screen time, sitting time, sleep, college students


Background. Recent work has shown that individuals with chronic health conditions and disabilities (CCD) meet the 24-hr movement guidelines at lower rates than population norms; however, the evidence base remains limited across different stages of the lifespan and very few studies have examined associations with mental health outcomes.

Objective. This study examined 24-hour movement guideline adherence among emerging adults with CCD compared to those without and associations between guideline adherence and indicators of mental health.

Methods. This cross-sectional study used data from the 2020 cycle of the Canadian Campus Wellbeing Survey. A total of 20,630 emerging adults enrolled at 20 post-secondary institutions (Mean age=21.7±2.92 years; 66.8% female), including 6,077 who identified with a CCD, self-reported their movement behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behaviors, sleep) and completed measures of psychological distress and mental wellbeing. Logistic regressions models were computed to examine differences in guideline adherence. Propensity score weighted linear regression models were computed to examine associations between guideline adherence and indicators of mental health.

Results. Emerging adults with CCD had significantly lower odds of meeting the 24-hr movement guidelines compared to their peers, and disparities in guideline adherence were most pronounced among those with multimorbidity. Guideline adherence was associated with significantly more favorable scores for psychological distress and mental wellbeing among those with and without CCD.

Conclusions. Findings suggest emerging adults with CCD engage in less healthy movement behavior patterns than their peers, yet they appear to experience similar mental health benefits when they do meet the 24-hr movement guidelines.


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