Lifestyle choices and mental health: A representative population survey

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Abstract

Background: Identifying healthy lifestyle behaviours that promote psychological wellbeing is crucial to preventing mental disorders. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the individual and combined associations between different aspects of everyday life and mental health within a representative community sample in Germany. Method: The study was conducted in 2012/2013 and included 7,937 participants representative of the German population. Lifestyle factors were assessed via self-report and included frequency of physical and mental activity, alcohol consumption, smoking, body mass index as well as circadian and social regularity. Outcome variables were depression, anxiety, stress and satisfaction with life. Results: All lifestyle factors were associated with the mental health outcomes. Better mental health was linked to higher frequency of physical and mental activity, moderate alcohol consumption (i.e. not increased or no alcohol consumption), non-smoking, a body mass index within the range of normal to overweight (i.e. not underweight or obese) and a regular life rhythm. The more healthy lifestyle choices an individual makes, the higher life satisfaction and lower psychological distress he or she tends to have. Conclusions: The current study underlines the importance of healthy lifestyle choices in respect to psychological wellbeing.

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Velten, J., Lavallee, K. L., Scholten, S., Meyer, A. H., Zhang, X. C., Schneider, S., & Margraf, J. (2014). Lifestyle choices and mental health: A representative population survey. BMC Psychology, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-014-0055-y

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