Psychological Stress and Lowered Physical Activity Enjoyment in Adolescents With Overweight/Obesity

Tiwaloluwa A. Ajibewa, Lexie R. Beemer, Kendrin R. Sonneville, Alison L. Miller, Claudia Toledo-Corral, Leah E. Robinson, Rebecca E. Hasson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was 2-fold: 1) to determine the cross-sectional associations between psychological stress, physical activity enjoyment, and physical activity participation [moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), total physical activity (TPA)]; and 2) to determine the moderating effect of physical activity enjoyment on the associations between stress, MVPA, and TPA in adolescents with overweight/obesity. Design: Cross-sectional, secondary data analysis of the Health and Culture Project and the Stress, Obesity, and Diabetes in Adolescents study. Sample: One hundred and ten adolescents (73% female; 65.4% non-white; age 15.8 ± 1.9 years) with overweight/obesity (BMI percentile ≥ 85th percentile) were included in this analysis. Measures: Psychological stress was assessed using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14); enjoyment was measured via the Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale; and MVPA and TPA were objectively measured using accelerometry over a minimum of 4 days. Results: Higher perceived stress was associated with lower physical activity enjoyment (β = −0.41 ± 0.15; p = 0.008). Stress was not associated with MVPA or TPA (ps > 0.05), nor was enjoyment a significant moderator in the associations between stress and MVPA or stress and TPA (pinteraction > 0.05). Conclusions: These findings suggest that psychological stress is associated with lower physical activity enjoyment among adolescents with overweight/obesity. Longitudinal studies are needed to understand the long-term effects of stress on psychological factors that may serve as antecedents to physical activity participation among adolescents with overweight/obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-774
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • adolescence
  • MVPA
  • obesity
  • physical activity enjoyment
  • psychological stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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