A recent study by Jennifer Allen Catellier, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication arts at John Carroll University, suggests that people who are emotionally stimulated are less likely to exercise than individuals who are emotionally neutral. The study also found that people reporting negative emotions had the least favorable attitudes toward physical activity.
Allen Catellier conducted the research with Z. Janet Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York at Buffalo. They divided 153 college students into three groups that viewed a video clip intended to bring about a positive, negative, or neutral state of mind, respectively. The students then completed a survey with questions about their exercise habits, their current mood, and whether or not they planned to work out.
The study showed that students in the neutral group were more likely to want to engage in physically active behaviors than their positive or neutral counterparts. Regardless of group, individuals feeling positive were also more likely to want to exercise than those feeling negative. Allen Catellier is currently working on research to further explain the effects of emotion on health behaviors in different contexts and situations.
Allen Catellier and Yang’s study—titled “The Role of Affect in the Decision to Exercise: Does Being Happy Lead to a More Active Lifestyle?”—appears in the March 2013 issue of the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise. Read more about the study’s findings in the MyHealthNewsDaily article, How Emotions Can Sabotage Exercise.