Feelings & Daily Activities

Happy PersonIntroduction

Common feeling states like happiness, stress, depression and pain are related to daily activities. But, for people with impairments, how feeling states are related to various daily activities is unknown. We used Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) data to examine the feelings associated with participating in 15 daily activities.

Sample

The following results were generated from 139 individuals who completed at least half of the 84 EMA prompts over a two week period. Information about the sampling procedures and demographic characteristics can be found here, at the Pain Interference Patterns EMA Sample page. It is important to note that for this sample, respondents were at home for 69% of the measurement periods.

Measures

The EMA data includes 15 options that respondents used to indicate the type of activity they were engaged in at the time of the prompt. Activities included community/volunteering, eating, education, employment, family care giving, financial management, healthcare appointments, household chores, shopping, recreation/leisure, religious activities, self-care, socializing, visiting, transportation and other activity. This categorization was based on the International Classification of Function (WHO, 2001).  We asked respondents to indicate what they were doing and how they were feeling during each activity.  Pain was measured using a typical 11 point pain scale where a rating of 0 means no pain and 10 represents the worst pain imaginable. Pain catastrophizing items were assessed using five point anchored Likert-type scale were 0 = not at all, 1 = a little, 2 = somewhat, 3 = quite a bit and 4 = very much. Exertion was measured using the Borg Exertion scale that ranges from 0 to 10. Happiness, depression and fatigue were measured using the same rating scale as the pain catastrophizing items. We collected all variables contemporaneously.

Procedures

Detailed description of the EMA procedures can be found at Ecological Momentary Assessment Procedures.  Briefly, individuals carried a Samsung Galaxy player (similar to an IPod) that prompted them six times a day for two weeks to report on their location, activity and associated experiences.

Data were analyzed for within person regression effects on each variable relative to its value for the activity “resting.”  Effects were adjusted for time of day and day of the week to control for temporal variation in activity engagement.

Results

We present results in Table 1.  Effects for exertion and fatigue are noteworthy in that all activities are associated with higher exertion relative to resting and all activities are associated with lower fatigue.  This occurs because resting is associated with the lowest exertion of all activities, as expected, but also the highest fatigue.  People rest when they feel fatigued. Only statistically significant results are presented.

Fixed Effects Multiple Regression Coefficients of Experiences for each Activity Relative to Resting

Fixed effects multiple regression coefficients of experiences for each activity relative to resting. The experience “pain level” by activity, community volunteering no entry, eating no entry, education no entry, employment no entry, family caregiving no entry, financial management no entry, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores p value of 0.15. The experience of “worried about pain” by activity, community volunteering no entry, eating p value of -0.12, Education no entry, employment no entry, family caregiving no entry, financial management no entry, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores no entry. The experience of “fear pain won’t end” by activity, community volunteering no entry, eating p value of -0.11, Education p value of -0.20, employment no entry, family caregiving no entry, financial management no entry, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores no entry. The experience of “thinking about pain” by activity, community volunteering no entry, eating p value of -0.12, Education p value of -0.19, employment no entry, family caregiving no entry, financial management no entry, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores no entry. The experience of “level of exertion” by activity, community volunteering p value of 0.82, eating p value of 0.40, Education p value of 0.41, employment 0.90, family caregiving 0.81, financial management 0.39, healthcare appointments 0.75, household chores 1.27. The experience of “level of fatigue” by activity, community volunteering no entry, eating p value of -0.28, Education p value of -0.32, employment 0.91, family caregiving -0.24, financial management -0.25, healthcare appointments p value of -0.17 , household chores -0.16. The experience of “level of depression” by activity, community volunteering no entry, eating p value of -0.07, Education no entry, employment no entry, family caregiving no entry, financial management no entry, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores no entry. The experience of “level of happiness” by activity, community volunteering 0.26, eating p value of 0.25, Education p value of .0.15, employment no entry, family caregiving p value of 0.14, financial management no entry, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores no entry. The experience of “satisfaction with activity” by activity, community volunteering 0.26, eating p value of 0.27, Education no entry, employment p value of-0.30, family caregiving no entry, financial management p value of -0.42, healthcare appointments no entry, household chores p value of -.30.

Fixed Effects Multiple Regression Coefficients of Experiences for each Activity Relative to Resting Continued

Fixed effects multiple regression coefficients of experiences for each activity relative to resting. The experience “pain level” by activity, shopping p value of 0.19, recreation/leisure no entry, religious activities no entry, self-care no entry, socializing/visiting no entry, transportation no entry, other no entry. The experience “worried about pain” by activity, shopping no entry, recreation/leisure p value of -0.15, religious activities no entry, self-care no entry, socializing/visiting p value of -0.16, transportation no entry, other no entry. The experience “fear pain won’t end” by activity, shopping no entry, recreation/leisure p value of -0.17, religious activities no entry, self-care no entry, socializing/visiting p value of-0.20, transportation no entry, other no entry. The experience “thinking about pain” by activity, shopping no entry, recreation/leisure p value of -0.15, religious activities no entry, self-care no entry, socializing/visiting no entry, transportation no entry, other no entry. The experience “level of exertion” by activity, shopping p value of 1.07, recreation/leisure p value of 0.46, religious activities p value of 0.39, self-care p value of 0.94, socializing/visiting p value of 0.37, transportation p value of 0.55, other p value of 0.82.  The experience “level of fatigue” by activity, shopping p value of -0.20, recreation/leisure p value of -0.28, religious activities p value of -0.33, self-care p value of -0.27, socializing/visiting p value of -0.29, transportation p value of -0.19, other p value of -0.19.  The experience “level of depression”  by activity, shopping no entry, recreation/leisure p value of -0.10, religious activities p value of -0.18, self-care no entry, socializing/visiting no entry, transportation no entry, other no entry. The experience “level of happiness” by activity, shopping no entry, recreation/leisure p value of 0.24, religious activities p value of 0.52, self-care p value of 0.09, socializing/visiting p value of 0.36, transportation no entry, other no entry.  The experience “satisfaction with activity” by activity, shopping p value of -0.19, recreation/leisure p value of 0.20, religious activities p value of 0.48, self-care no entry, socializing/visiting p value of 0.37, transportation no entry, other no entry.

Discussion

Feeling states vary by activity. Results indicate higher levels of pain when individuals are doing household chores or shopping, relative to resting.  However, all other negative feeling states (pain catastrophizing, depression and fatigue) are associated with lower levels for all activities compared to resting. This may reflect that people choose to engage in activities when they feel better or that activities have an effect on the feeling states. Activities most associated with happiness relative to resting were community/volunteering, education, socializing and religious activities.  Further research that investigates temporal and causal effects of activity on feeling states is warranted.