Characteristics of 24-hour movement behaviours and their associations with mental health in children and adolescents

Stuart J. Fairclough*, Lauren Clifford, Denver Brown, Richard Tyler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Background: Time-use estimates are typically used to describe 24-hour movement behaviours. However, these behaviours can additionally be characterised by other easily measured metrics. These include sleep quality (e.g., sleep efficiency), 24-hour rest-activity rhythmicity (e.g., between-day rhythm variability), and directly measured acceleration metrics (e.g., intensity gradient). Associations between these characteristics and youth mental health are unclear. This study aimed to [1] compare 24-hour movement behaviour characteristics by sex and age groups, [2] determine which movement behaviour characteristics were most strongly associated with mental health outcomes, and [3] investigate the optimal time-use behaviour compositions for different mental health outcomes. Methods: Three-hundred-and-one children and adolescents (age 9–13 y; 60% girls) wore accelerometers for 24-hours/day over 7-days. Overall mental health, externalising, and internalising problems were self-reported using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. 24-hour movement behaviour characteristics were categorised as time-use estimates, sleep quality, 24-hour activity rhythmicity, and directly measured acceleration. Linear mixed models and compositional data analysis were used to analyse the data in alignment with the study aims. Results: Time-use estimates, directly measured accelerations, and 24-hour rest-activity rhythm metrics indicated that children were significantly more physically active (p = .01-
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Activity, Sedentary and Sleep Behaviors
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jun 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2023


  • Compositional analysis
  • Goldilocks Day
  • Circadian
  • Time-use
  • Youth
  • Sleep quality
  • Rest-activity rhythm
  • Directly measured acceleration
  • Optimal


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