Lifestyle behaviors, psychological distress, and well-being: A daily diary study

Austen R. Anderson, Blaine J. Fowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Rationale: Many lifestyle behaviors such as diet, exercise, social interaction, and substance use are related to physical and mental health. Less understood are the day-to-day associations of these behaviors with both psychological distress, well-being, and with each other. Objective: This study investigated how a number of common lifestyle behaviors were associated with psychological distress and well-being using a daily diary study with multilevel modeling. Associations among behaviors were analyzed with multilevel mediation and network models. Methods: An online participant pool consisting of seventy-six adults (age range: 19–64; mean age: 40.29; 58% female) completed daily diary surveys over 14 days and reported their engagement in lifestyle behaviors, psychological distress, hedonic well-being, and eudaimonic well-being. Results: Time spent in social interaction was the most consistent within-person correlate of psychological distress and well-being. The association between daily time in nature and well-being was mediated by social interaction and exercise. Network models found within-person associations among the lifestyle behaviors. Conclusion: The results indicate that social interaction may be an especially important lifestyle behavior to consider when promoting well-being. Future research should recognize that daily fluctuations in many lifestyle behaviors cluster together.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113263
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Clustering
  • Lifestyle behaviors
  • Lifestyle medicine
  • Nature
  • Network model
  • Psychological distress
  • Social interaction
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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