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J Happiness Stud

DOI 10.1007/s10902-016-9743-z


A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction

with Life during the Menopausal Transition:
Physical (In)activity, Symptoms, and Neuroticism

Moe Kishida1 Steriani Elavsky1

 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Abstract The main objectives of the present study were (1) to examine the between- and
within-person association of physical (in)activity and satisfaction with life (SWL), and (2)
to identify relevant top-down and bottom-up influences associated with daily well-being in
menopausal women using a daily process approach. As part of a 21-day diary study,
community-dwelling middle-aged women (N = 103; age range 4060 years) wore an
accelerometer for the objective assessment of physical activity and completed daily
Internet surveys at the end of their day. Multilevel analyses indicated the between-person
effects of physical activity on SWL were negligent but that on days when a woman was
more physically active than her usual, she reported greater SWL (B = 12.01, p \ .05).
Sedentary behavior did not demonstrate a between- or within-person association with
SWL. Women also experienced reduced SWL on days when greater symptom burden was
reported (B = -2.47, p \ .05). Neuroticism also emerged as a top-down personality trait
with a negative relation to SWL (B = -1.47, p \ .05). Higher levels of neuroticism
predicted reduced daily life satisfaction particularly on days characterized by heightened
symptom burden (B = -0.26, p \ .05). In this sample of midlife women, daily physical
activity had a positive influence on SWL, whereas daily symptom burden and the per-
sonality trait of neuroticism had detrimental consequences on a womans daily well-being.

Keywords Menopausal transition  Physical activity  Sedentary behavior  Well-being 

Intensive longitudinal methods

& Moe Kishida
Department of Kinesiology, The Pennsylvania State University, 26 Recreation Building,
University Park, PA 16802, USA

M. Kishida, S Elavsky

1 Introduction

Satisfaction with life (SWL) is a distinct element of subjective wellbeing, which represents a
proxy of an individuals overall cognitive judgment of the quality of ones life. Specifically,
these evaluations are based on comparisons between ones perceived life circumstance and
self-selected standards (Shin and Johnson 1978). An extant body of literature exists linking
SWL to an impressive array of beneficial outcomes, including reduced risk of disease and
mortality, fulfilling work-family outcomes, and health-promoting behaviors (Diener and
Chan 2011; Grant et al. 2009; Lyubomirsky et al. 2005). Accordingly, SWL has been valued
as an essential construct in positive psychology (Snyder and Lopez 2002) and as a key
indicator of successful aging (Neugarten et al. 1961).
Indeed, lifespan researchers have long been intrigued with the simple, yet unsettled
inquiry of whether and how SWL changes with age. Although much of the cross-sectional
literature has portrayed SWL as a hedonic treadmill, where happiness remains relatively
stable with age (Diener et al. 1999; Hamarat et al. 2002; Wallace et al. 2001) studies have
also found SWL to decline (Gerstorf et al. 2008, 2010), or even increase with age (Diener
1984). Non-linear trajectories have also emerged, where SWL tends to peak around the
ages of 4565, and declines thereafter (Baird et al. 2010; Lang and Heckhausen 2001;
Mroczek and Spiro 2005).
Clearly, empirical data appear inconsistent when it comes to depicting the age-related
trajectory of SWL, likely as a consequence of divergent methodological approaches and study
samples. Unique trajectories may also exist for different population subgroups; for instance, in
women, reduced SWL has been pinpointed earlier in the lifespan at midlife, as a consequence
of the menopausal transition (Woods and Mitchell 2005). Although some women view and
experience the menopause to be unobtrusive, it is a time characterized by significant
biopsychosocial changes which brings about unique influences on SWL. In particular, the
dynamic, physiological and hormonal changes that occur due to the aging process gives rise to
menopausal symptoms (e.g., hot flashes, irritability, sleep disturbances), which can potentially
compromise a womans health and well-being (Neff 2004; Woods and Mitchell 2005).
The determinants of SWL are varied and complex, often approached from either a top-
down or bottom-up perspective (Diener 1984). Top-down approaches view SWL as a
function of time-invariant, trait-level characteristics, and posit individuals experience
events and circumstances according to ones set habitual patterns, which impact SWL
(Diener et al. 1999). For instance, research has demonstrated personality (e.g., extraversion
and neuroticism) to be one of the foremost indicators of SWL (Costa and McCrae 1992;
Mroczek and Spiro 2005; Steel et al. 2008). On the other hand, bottom-up theories suggest
SWL to be derived from a sum effect of all of the pleasant and unpleasant time-varying
moments and experiences (e.g., daily life events, behaviors, or states) such that ones
evaluations of SWL are at times influenced by temporarily available information (Schwarz
and Strack 1999). Maher et al. (2014a, b, 2013) have recently demonstrated a within-
person relation between physical (in)activity and SWL in emerging adults (ages 1825),
such that increased SWL was reported on days when individuals were more physically
active than what was typical for them, and on days when they were less sedentary than was
typical for them.
Despite these distinct approaches to the study of SWL, researchers have also under-
scored the need to integrate these two theories (Brief et al. 1993; Feist et al. 1995) in order
to facilitate a better understanding of the multiple pathways through which SWL can be
improved. The unique and dynamic nature of the menopausal transition presents a

A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction with Life

Fig. 1 A conceptual model Top-Down Influences

depicting both top-down and (Time invariant, trait-like, between-person)
bottom-up influences on SWL
adapted from Maher et al. (2013).
Both top-down and bottom-up Demographics, Personality,
factors can influence daily SWL Overall Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior,
directly (solid lines). Dashed Symptom Burden
lines illustrate fluctuations in
bottom-up factors may
accumulate over time to influence
top-down factors such as
tendencies and dispositions Daily
(dashed lines) Satisfaction with Life

Daily Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior,

Symptom Burden, Day of Week, Study Day

Bottom-Up Influences
(Time varying, state-like, within-person)

suitable platform to examine how different top-down and bottom-up factors interact to
influence SWL in midlife women (A conceptual framework illustrating the top-down and
bottom-up influences on SWL can be found in Fig. 1).

1.1 Top-down Influences on a Womans Satisfaction with Life

Differences in SWL have previously been established between high and low active women,
and physical activity appears to feed positively into a womans SWL through pathways
such as enhanced affect, self-efficacy, and self-worth (Elavsky and McAuley 2005, 2007,
2009). Importantly, the between-person differences in activity levels may also be inter-
related to other top-down influences (e.g., personality, symptom burden) that are relevant
to midlife women, including sedentary behavior, which has been linked to menopause-
related risks and complaints (Peeters et al. 2013; Teychenne et al. 2015).
There is substantial inter-individual variability in the frequency, intensity, and duration
of symptoms a woman experiences (Avis et al. 2005); hence, highly symptomatic women
may be at greater risk for reduced SWL. Personality traits can influence SWL through ways
in which a woman interprets and reacts to certain experiences and situations; moreover, it
may also act as a top-down factor that explains the variation in the perception and
experience of menopause-related symptoms (Borkoles et al. 2015; Elavsky and McAuley
2009). Specifically, women who are high in neuroticism, may be more vulnerable to the
distress and bother that is often associated with menopausal symptoms (Bosworth et al.

1.2 Bottom-up Influences on a Womans Satisfaction with Life

Despite the fact much of the well-being literature in midlife women has taken a top-down
perspective to identify inter-individual differences that impact SWL, the ebbs and flows of
the menopausal transition also points to the importance of understanding the bottom-up

M. Kishida, S Elavsky

influences on SWL. Indeed, just as there is substantial inter-individual variability in

symptom experiences, intra-individual variability is also present such that symptoms
fluctuate within individuals on a day-to-day basis. Understanding whether greater symptom
burden on one day is more disruptive to a womans daily SWL may inform innovative
symptom management strategies.
Health behaviors such as physical (in)activity can also vary considerably from day-to-
day, having the potential to exert bottom-up, within-person influences on a womans SWL.
More physical activity on one day in comparison to another, or greater physical activity
participation over a specific period of time may lead to enhancements in a womans SWL.
Similarly, sedentary behavior may also have acute effects on SWL, depending on how
much longer (or less) a woman sits on one day, relative to her usual amount of sitting.

1.3 The Present Study

Using a daily process approach which enabled to capture both the inter- and intra-indi-
vidual variability of physical (in)activity and symptoms, the overarching aim of the present
21-day diary study was to identify the relevant top-down and bottom-up influences asso-
ciated with daily SWL in women across the menopausal transition. In particular, the first
objective of the study was to determine whether the within-person influences of physical
(in)activity on SWL would also manifest in middle-aged women, even after accounting for
influences of (in)activity levels (i.e., physical activity or sedentary behavior), personality,
and symptoms. It was hypothesized that physical activity would demonstrate a positive
within-person association with SWL, and that this association would be inverse for
sedentary behavior. The second objective aimed to better understand the top-down and
bottom-up influences of symptom burden on SWL by investigating the potential impact of
neuroticism on a womans symptom experiences and SWL. It was hypothesized higher
neurotic women would report reduced SWL, and that these women would be impacted to a
greater extent (in comparison to low neurotic women) on days they reported higher
symptom burden.

2 Method

2.1 Participants and Procedures

Participants were community-dwelling middle-aged women (N = 103) recruited for a

prospective 21-day diary study investigating the associations between physical activity,
psychosocial factors, and the health and well-being of menopausal women. Rolling
recruitment was utilized across a period of five months (May to September 2013). Before
the initial lab visit, interested participants were screened via an online screening ques-
tionnaire or over the phone by a graduate research assistant. Women were eligible for
participation in this study if they were: (1) between the ages of 4060 years, (2) capable of
performing normal physical activity (without functional limitations or inability to perform
daily ambulatory movement such as walking), (3) experiencing at least one symptom on
the Greene Climacteric Scale (Greene 1998) within the past two weeks, and (4) had daily
access to Internet.
All procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the local institution.
Participants were recruited through handouts and flyers placed in community locations and

A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction with Life

word of mouth. Recruitment letters were also mailed out to potential contacts in the labs
research volunteer database, and an online ad was also posted on the research studies
website for volunteers at the local institution.
At the initial lab visit, participants provided informed consent and completed a baseline
survey administered through one of the computers in the laboratory which included
demographic, health history information (including self-reported menopausal status)
(Harlow et al. 2012) and psychosocial questionnaires. Participants were then familiarized
with the study protocol and trained, which included learning how to wear an accelerometer
on a daily basis and access daily Internet surveys through a secure website at the end of
each day (i.e., between 7:00 pm and 2:00am), over the course of the 21-day study period.

2.2 Measures

2.2.1 Satisfaction with Life

A single item from the SWL Scale (i.e., I was satisfied with my life today) (Diener et al.
1985) was used to assess self-reported daily SWL. Ratings were made on a visual 0100
scale, with anchors marked as ranging from 0 (strongly disagree) to 100 (strongly agree).
This item has previously been found to appropriately capture the latent SWL factor in
intensive longitudinal studies (Maher et al. 2013), and has the advantage to reduce par-
ticipant burden, particularly when measuring the same construct over extended periods of

2.2.2 Physical (In)activity

Physical activity and sedentary behavior were objectively assessed using a tri-axial
accelerometer (Actigraph model GT3X, Pensacola, FL). Each participant wore an
accelerometer that was initialized to collect data in 60 s epochs and was placed over the
participants non-dominant hip with an adjustable elastic belt. Participants wore the
accelerometer for the entire 21-day data collection period, with an exception for times in
contact with water (e.g., showering). A valid day was defined as C10 valid wear time hours
with non-wear time defined to be a period of 90 min or more when the accelerometer
recorded zeros (Choi and Liu 2011). The accelerometer data were examined using the raw
counts min-1 variable (adjusted for wear time; representing average volume of physical
activity without imposing any cut point decisions) and minutes engaging in moderate and
vigorous physical activity (cut points C 2020) (Troiano et al. 2008). The sedentary analysis
feature in Actigraph was used to appropriately capture sedentary behavior with activity
counts below 150 classified to be sedentary. The total length of sedentary bouts (i.e., total
sedentary time in minutes per day) was used in the analyses.

2.2.3 Symptom Burden

The 21-item Greene Climacteric Scale (Greene 1998) was used to assess subjective daily
symptom burden. The scale yields a comprehensive measure of menopausal symptoms,
which includes psychological (e.g., anxiety, depression), somatic (e.g., headaches, joint
aches), and vasomotor (e.g., hot flashes, night sweats) symptoms, with an additional probe
which captures sexuality (i.e., lost interest in sex). Respondents were asked to indicate the
extent to which they had been bothered by each of these symptoms today. For the present

M. Kishida, S Elavsky

Table 1 Descriptive statistics

Variable M (SD) or N %
for the study participants
Age 52.6 (4.7)
Premenopause 14.6 %
Perimenopausal 25.2 %
Postmenopausal 52.4 %
Surgical 7.8 %
Education 73.8 % college graduate
Income 60.2 % earning above $75,000
Marital status 84.5 % married
Race/ethnicity 94.2 % white (non-Hispanic)
Symptom Burden (GCS) 14.06 (6.38)
GCS Green climacteric scale. Psychological symptoms 7.82 (4.05)
Scores on the GCS reflect
baseline values assessed with the Vasomotor symptoms 1.72 (1.37)
original response scale. IPIP Somatic symptoms 3.59 (2.46)
International personality item Neuroticism (IPIP) 17.24 (6.52)

study, ratings were made on a visual 0100 scale, with anchors marked as ranging from 0
(not at all) to 100 (very much). The total symptom burden score was generated by aver-
aging responses across the 21 items. Greene Climacteric Scale ratings using the original
scale from 0 (not at all bothersome) to 3 (extremely bothersome) demonstrated symptom
burden reports in accordance with a non-clinical sample (see Table 1). The internal con-
sistency of the scale was acceptable (Cronbachs a = 0.81 for psychological, 0.68 for
somatic, 0.68 for vasomotor symptoms, respectively).

2.2.4 Neuroticism

Individual differences in neuroticism were assessed through the baseline questionnaire

(i.e., at the initial lab visit) using the neuroticism scale of the International Personality Item
Pool (IPIP; Goldberg et al. 2006). This scale parallels the Neuroticism subscale of the
NEO-PI-R (Costa and McCrae 1992). The scale contained 10 items, and each item con-
sisted of a short statement (e.g. I am often down in the dumps) to which participants
responded on a five point Likert scale (1 = very inaccurate to 5 = very accurate).
The internal consistency of the scale in the present study was acceptable (Cronbachs
a = 0.84).

2.2.5 Time of Week

Emotional states, symptoms, and well-being have been evidenced to be influenced by

location within the normative social and weekly calendar. As an example, on average,
individuals tend to report more positive emotions compared to negative emotions on
weekends than week days (Helliwell and Wang 2014; Stone et al. 2012), which suggests
the weekly calendar can have effects on an individuals daily SWL. Hence, time of week
was defined to contrast weekdays (0 = Mondays through Thursday) with weekends
(1 = Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction with Life

2.2.6 Time/Reactivity

The day in study sequence was controlled for to account for any changes (i.e., issues of
reactivity) in daily self-reports of life satisfaction and symptom burden as a result of
exposure to repeated measures assessments (Bolger and Laurenceau 2013).

2.3 Data Analysis

Considering the nested nature of SWL, physical (in)activity, and symptoms (21 consec-
utive days nested within 103 women), two-level multilevel models were used and esti-
mated using SAS 9.3 PROC MIXED (Littell et al. 1996). Of the total enrolled sample of
108 participants, 4 participants withdrew from the study due to inability to comply with
study procedures, and 1 participant did not provide sufficient data, leaving a total of 103
participants to be included in the analyses.
In preparation for data analysis, the physical (in)activity and symptom burden scores
were separated into two components which consisted of a person-level average across the
21 days (between-person component) and a person-centered daily score (within-person
component) (Snijders and Bosker 1999). As an example, a woman is mean score across
the study period constituted of her level 2, between-person variable (e.g., Overall Physical
Activityi). The difference between her daily score and her mean score constituted the level
1, within-person, person-centered variable, representing day-to-day deviations relative to
her average across the 21 days (Daily Physical Activitydi). Prior to the analysis, all
between-person predictor variables were centered. The final multi-level model predicting
daily satisfaction with life (DSWLdi) is presented as follows:
DSWLdi b0i b1i Daily Physical Activitydi
b2i Daily Sedentary Behaviordi
b3i Daily Symptom Burdendi
b4i Weekenddi b5i Study Daydi edi

b0i c00 c01 Overall Physical Activityi
c02 Overall Sedentary Behaviori
c03 Overall Symptom Burdeni
c04 Neuroticism c05 Age u0i

b1i c10 3

b2i c20 4

b3i c30 c31 Neuroticism u3i 5

b4i c40 6

b5i c50 7
where c01 to c05 represent the top-down, between-person influences of overall physical
activity, sedentary behavior, symptom burden, neuroticism, and age on daily SWL, c10 to

M. Kishida, S Elavsky

c40 represent the average strength of the bottom-up, within-person influences of daily
physical activity, sedentary behavior, symptom burden and day in study on daily SWL, and
c31 can be interpreted as the partial relation between neuroticism and the daily symptom
burden-life satisfaction association. u3i represents the individual-level residual deviations
that are uncorrelated with the day-level residuals edi. To reduce model complexity, the
remaining residual deviations (i.e., u1i, u2i, u4i, and u5i) for physical activity, sedentary
behavior, weekend effects, and day in study sequence were treated as unconditional fixed

3 Results

3.1 Descriptive Statistics

Participants completed surveys for a total of 2132 of the 2163 possible person-days
(98.6 % compliance overall), and 2098 (98.4 %) of the completed surveys were considered
valid (i.e., completed within the designated time frame and within a reasonable time
period) to be included in the analysis. Participants also provided accelerometer data for a
total 2114 of the 2163 possible person-days (97.7 %). The average accelerometer wear
time during waking hours was 15 h and 43 min.
Study participants were on average 53 years old, Caucasian (94.2 %), married (84.5 %),
well-educated (73.8 % college graduate) women representing varying stages of the
menopausal transition (see Table 1). Descriptives, correlations, and intraclass correlations
(ICCs) are presented in Table 2. As indicated by the ICC estimates, approximately half of
the variance in SWL, physical activity (activity counts and MVPA), sedentary behavior,
and symptom burden were attributed to within-person differences (4954 %,
ICC = 0.460.51). On a scale of 0100, women reported moderate to high levels of SWL

Table 2 Descriptives, intraclass correlations, and correlations of predictors and symptom burden
M SD ICC 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Satisfaction 71.19 27.66 0.51 0.03 0.10 0.18 -0.17 -0.46 -0.11
With Life
2. Physical 333.92 171.44 0.50 0.18 0.89 -0.39 -0.11 -0.16 -0.15
Activity (counts
3. MVPA 42.83 36.28 0.46 0.15 0.85 -0.10 -0.16 -0.22 -0.14
4. Sedentary 450.07 123.10 0.51 -0.12 -0.57 -0.24 -0.09 -0.03 -0.03
5. Symptom 23.55 14.99 0.48 -0.14 0.06 -0.01 -0.17 0.08 -0.06
6. Neuroticism 17.13 6.49 -0.37 -0.16 -0.15 0.004 0.13 0.05
7. Age 52.65 4.69 -0.03 -0.06 -0.07 0.002 -0.06 0.06
Means (M) and standard deviations (SD) represent person-level descriptives. ICC = Intraclass correlation
(proportion of between-person variability). Coefficients above the diagonal represent between-person cor-
relations, and coefficients below the diagonal reflect within-person, across-day correlations. Correlations
were calculated using transformed scores

A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction with Life

(M = 71.19, SD = 27.66), and relatively low symptom burden scores (M = 23.55,

SD = 14.99). Despite substantial inter-individual variability, women in this study accrued
mean moderate-to-vigorous physical activity estimates of 38.9 min per day (SD = 24.6,
range: 6.3121.9), and spent an average 7.5 h of sitting per day. Overall, women in this
sample were more physically active and slightly less sedentary in comparison to a
nationally representative NHANES sample (Troiano et al. 2008).

3.2 Multilevel Analyses of Satisfaction with Life

Table 3 represents the unstandardized parameter estimates from the multilevel models of daily
SWL (Model 1, left column: raw activity counts; Model 2, right column: MVPA). In both
models, within-person associations between physical activity and SWL emerged such that on
days when a woman was more physically active than her usual, she reported enhanced SWL
(Model 1: c10 = 12.01, p \ .05; Model 2: c10 = 4.08, p \ .05). Notably, sedentary behavior
did not demonstrate a within-person relation when controlling for raw activity counts (Model
1: c20 = -.005, p = 0.29); however, in the model controlling for minutes of MVPA,
sedentary behavior did demonstrate a within-person association with SWL such that on days
when a woman was more sedentary than was typical for her, she reported reduced SWL
(Model 2: c10 = -.01, p \ .05). The within-person associations between symptom burden and
SWL were consistent across both models such that on days when a woman reported greater

Table 3 Multilevel models of satisfaction with life

Variable Model 1 Model 2

Fixed effects
Intercept, c00 66.64* (2.03) 67.14* (2.00)
Overall physical activity, c01 8.62 (15.49) 4.57 (6.35)
Daily physical activity, c10 12.01* (3.39) 4.08* (1.35)
Overall sedentary behavior, c02 -0.02 (0.03) -0.03 (0.03)
Daily sedentary behavior, c20 -0.005 (0.006) -0.01* (0.005)
Overall symptom burden, c03 -1.55 (1.55) -1.49 (1.56)
Daily symptom burden, c30 -2.47* (0.48) -2.54* (0.49)
Daily symptom burden 9 Neuroticism, c31 -0.26* (0.08) -0.27* (0.08)
Neuroticism, c04 -1.47* (0.28) -1.47* (0.28)
Age, c05 -0.06 (0.37) -0.05 (0.37)
Weekend, c40 1.94* (0.91) 2.08* (0.92)
Study Day, c50 -0.29* (0.07) -0.27* (0.08)
Random effects
Intercept, r2 u0 276.44* (42.74) 276.47* (42.77)
Symptom burden slope, r2 u3 6.24* (3.49) 6.77* (3.57)
Residual variance, r2 e 351.13* (12.07) 350.00* (12.09)
-2LL 16,928.7 16,762.4
AIC 16,936.7 16,770.4

Unstandardized estimates and standard errors. Transformed scores were used to estimate parameters.
-2LL = -2 Log Likelihood, AIC Akaike Information Criterion
* p \ .05

M. Kishida, S Elavsky

77.23 75.25
Satisfaction with Life 70 62.42
High Neuroticism
60 51.65 (+1SD)
30 Low Neuroticism
20 (-1SD)
Low Symptoms High Symptoms

Fig. 2 Interaction of neuroticism and symptom burden on satisfaction with life as estimated from Model 1.
Low (dotted line) denotes 1 standard deviation below the mean. High (solid line) denotes 1 standard
deviation above the mean

symptom burden than what was typical for her, she reported reduced SWL (Model 1:
c30 = -2.47, p \ .05; Model 2: c30 = -2.54, p \ .05).
The between-person effects of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and symptoms
were negligent. To elaborate, no differences were found in SWL between more or less
(in)active women, or between high symptomatic and low symptomatic women. The per-
sonality trait of neuroticism emerged as a top-down personality trait with detrimental
consequences on SWL (Model 1: c04 = -1.47, p \ .05; Model 2: c04 = -1.47, p \ .05).
Furthermore, a significant interaction effect was found between neuroticism and daily
symptom burden such that higher levels of neuroticism predicted reduced daily SWL,
particularly on days characterized by heightened symptom burden (Model 1: c31 = -0.26,
p \ .05; Model 2: c31 = -0.27, p \ .05; See Fig. 2). A significant random slope for
symptom burden also arose, indicating the within-person effect of symptom burden on
SWL varied across women (r2u3 = 6.24, p \ .05; Model 2: r2u3 = 6.77, p \ .05).
Lastly, in both models, a weekend effect arouse such that weekends were associated with
greater SWL in comparison to week days (Model 1: c40 = 1.94, p \ .05; Model 2:
c40 = 2.08, p \ .05).

3.3 Lagged Relations Between Physical (In)activity, Symptom Burden,

and SWL

A series of lagged analyses were conducted to provide insight into temporal sequencing in
order to better elucidate the within-person relations between physical (in)activity, symp-
toms, and SWL. In these additional analyses, daily physical (in)activity and symptom
burden was regressed on previous-day SWL (day i - 1). In the lagged models predicting
physical activity (i.e., both activity counts and MVPA), there was a significant between-
person association between overall, previous-day SWL with physical activity (Activity
Counts, c01 = .002, p \ .05; MVPA, c01 = .004, p \ .05), such that women reporting
overall higher levels of SWL across the study period engaged in greater daily PA. The
within-person link between previous-day SWL and subsequent physical activity were not
significant (Activity Counts, c10 = .0004, p B .34; MVPA, c10 = .0001, p = .59). Neither

A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction with Life

the between- nor within-person relation between previous-day SWL and subsequent
sedentary behavior were significant (c02 = -.16, p = .16; c20 = -0.51, p = .19). Results
were consistent for symptom burden such that no associations were found for the between-
nor within-person associations between previous-day SWL and symptom burden
(c03 = -0.05, p = .37; c30 = -0.02, p = .28).

4 Discussion

The present study used a daily process approach to establish relations among physical
(in)activity, personality, symptoms, and SWL in women transitioning the menopause.
Consistent with previous research that has separated the effects of physical (in)activity into
top-down and bottom-up components (Maher et al. 2013, 2014), the significant influences
on SWL were driven by within-person effects of physical activity, such that on a day a
woman was more physically active than her usual, she reported enhanced SWL. A sig-
nificant, albeit indirect association between physical activity and SWL has been well
established in the literature (Elavsky and McAuley 2005; McAuley et al. 2008); yet, the
majority of this work has examined this link at the between-person level. This work was
therefore unique to extend the literature at the within-person level in midlife women.
The within-person influences of physical activity which emerged in this work highlight
the importance of promoting daily physical activity, not limited to increasing time in
planned exercise but which also includes making incremental changes to ones habitual
lifestyle patterns such as incorporating active transportation into ones routine (e.g.,
walking and bicycling). Interestingly, the within-person influence of sedentary behavior on
SWL only emerged in models controlling for MVPA, suggesting MVPA (i.e., planned
exercise) may not suffice to offset the negative consequences of sedentary behavior on
SWL. Although additional work capturing micro-contextual factors (e.g., where and with
whom a woman is located) is needed to better understand these findings (Dunton and
Atienza 2009), a plausible explanation could be that when a woman is more physically
active than her usual (in terms of activity counts), she sits less, has more opportunities to be
engaged in social interactions, which may enhance mood, feeding positively into her SWL.
Indeed, this proposed pathway (derived from the social withdrawal theory; Teychenne
et al. 2015), may be especially relevant for women, who have a natural tendency to seek
social support during times of stress (Taylor et al. 2000). Accordingly, maximum benefits
may be gained by reallocating time spent in sitting to engaging in activity, which may hold
value; for instance, in the workplace when there may be a greater tendency to be sedentary
for prolonged periods of time.
The within-person negative association which emerged linking menopausal symptom
burden to a womans SWL (rather than a between-person association) is a novel finding
from this work, especially since the impact of menopausal symptoms has been trivialized
due to a few studies which have shown lack of associations with lower wellbeing (Den-
nerstein et al. 2002). Perhaps, the between-person approach is not adequately sensitive in
capturing the day-to-day impact symptoms may have on a womans wellbeing and daily
functioning. Inter-individual differences in symptom experiences have been overempha-
sized in past research; nonetheless, our findings emphasize the need to also acknowledge
the intra-individual variability that is present.
Additionally, as hypothesized, neuroticism emerged as a top-down personality trait,
having detrimental consequences on a womans SWL. Moreover, high neurotic women

M. Kishida, S Elavsky

experienced reduced SWL especially on days when she reported higher symptom burden.
Considering the well-established evidence that has linked neuroticism to decreased SWL
(Costa and McCrae 1992), the negative impact of this personality trait on SWL was
unsurprising. Specifically, this work suggested that one pathway in which neuroticism may
lead to reductions in SWL, especially for women with high levels of neuroticism, is
through accentuated burden of daily menopausal symptoms. This is consistent with pre-
vious research linking neuroticism with greater menopausal stress (Bosworth et al. 2003),
demonstrating its role in how individuals experience and report their physical symptoms
more generally (Nedstrand et al. 1998). Although more research is warranted to understand
the underlying mechanisms, one plausible explanation could be that high neurotic women
lack the necessary resources (e.g., positive affect, social support) and/or skills to cope well
with their symptoms (OBrien and DeLongis 1996).
Notably, the top-down and bottom-up influences, which were identified through the
present study, held true even after controlling for time of week and exposure to study
procedures. Women in this sample reported higher SWL on the weekend (i.e., Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday) in comparison to the weekday. This may simply be due to the fact
that the majority of women in this study conformed to the normative weekly calendar.
Again, contextual information (e.g., more time spent with family members and in leisure)
should be obtained in future work to better understand the reasons for the heightened SWL
observed during the weekend.

4.1 Limitations and Future Directions

Findings from this work should be interpreted in light of its limitations. Due to the
intensive longitudinal design of the current study across a period of 21-days, physical
activity and sedentary behavior were captured only through objective means, and a single-
item measure of SWL was used to reduce participant burden. Although obtaining intensive
assessments of physical activity and sedentary behavior objectively with an accelerometer
holds value, it may be worthwhile to incorporate subjective reports of these two health
behaviors in order to determine whether findings would be consistent across divergent
methodologies. Further, a limitation of the accelerometer is that it fails to differentiate time
spent in sitting from other stationary activities such as standing. To account for this issue,
the sedentary analysis in the Actilife software was used to identify a participants sedentary
behavior to prevent the identification of non-wear as sedentary time; yet, the best means to
capture sedentary behavior through an accelerometer remains uncertain. Secondly,
although the daily process approach enabled the ebbs and flows of physical (in)activity,
symptoms, and SWL to be captured, and lagged analyses further helped to elucidate the
temporal ordering of these variables, ultimately, it is through experimental research in
which causal pathways can be identified.
Finally, the current sample was homogenous, consisting of predominantly white, high
educated, high-income community-dwelling women who were more physically active in
comparison to a National sample (Troiano et al. 2008). It should be acknowledged
therefore that findings from this study may not generalize to a more diverse population.
Further, women from this work reported relatively low to moderate symptom burden. It
would be meaningful for future research to examine whether the effects of neuroticism on
symptom burden would be more pronounced in women reporting more severe symptoms of
the menopause.

A Daily Process Approach to Depict Satisfaction with Life

5 Conclusion

The present study was able to identify the relevant top-down and bottom-up influences
associated with daily SWL in women across the menopausal transition. Daily physical
activity emerged as one means to enhance SWL of middle-aged women; with perhaps,
maximum gains being attained if time spent sitting is reallocated to time being more active.
Notably, since physical activity levels decline with age (Troiano et al. 2008), the contin-
uation of these daily efforts to increase daily activity hold promise for a healthy and
successful transition through ones midlife years. Conversely, daily symptom burden and
the personality trait of neuroticism had detrimental consequences on a womans SWL.
Indeed, women with a strong personality trait of neuroticism were more vulnerable to the
daily impact from menopausal symptoms, which suggest tailored interventions may be
warranted to provide effective symptom management skills for these subgroups of women.
As the day-to-day impact of symptoms may accumulate with time, identifying daily
approaches and strategies (e.g., daily physical activity promotion) to mitigate the impact of
symptoms is a worthwhile area for exploration in future research.
Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest

Ethical Approval All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance
with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki
Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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