The Temporal Dynamics Between Work Stressors And Health Behaviors

Document Type


Source of Publication

Journal Of Occupational Health Psychology

Publication Date



Applying dynamic equilibrium theory (DET), we examined the temporal dynamics between role overload and three health behaviors (sleep, diet, physical activity). Participants (N = 781) completed five surveys, with 1-month lag between assessments, and the data were analyzed using general cross-lagged panel modeling (GCLM). Results indicated that people had stable health behavior patterns (i.e., there were strong unit effects) that were related to stable role overload patterns (i.e., the chronic role overload and health behavior factors were significantly related). Furthermore, while monthly increases (impulses) in role overload had a negative effect on health behaviors concurrently, health behaviors quickly adapted or regressed back toward previous levels (i.e., there were weak autoregressive and cross-lagged effects after accounting for chronic factors). Impulse response functions were created to show the specific proportion of the initial impulse effect that persisted on each health behavior over time. The results of these response functions indicated that diet and physical activity regressed back to previous levels within 1 month, whereas sleep regressed back to previous levels within 2 months. Collectively, our results suggest that people engage in fairly stable patterns of health behaviors and that these patterns are partly determined by chronic role overload. Our results also suggest that people are generally resilient to temporary changes in role overload, such that the resulting immediate changes in behavior do not persist or become habitual. These results underscore the strength of habits and the resistance to health behavior change, as well as provide support for the use of GCLM for studying DET.




American Psychological Association (APA)


Medicine and Health Sciences


sleep, diet, physical activity, stress, role overload

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access