Cross-sectional association between active commuting and perceived commuting stress in Austrian adults : Results from the HOTway study

Faculty/Professorship: Pathopsychology  
Author(s): Sattler, Matteo C.; Färber, Tanja  ; Traußnig, Katharina; Köberl, Gottfried; Paier, Christoph; Dietz, Pavel; Poppel, Mireille N.M. van
Title of the Journal: Mental Health and Physical Activity
Publisher Information: Bamberg : Otto-Friedrich-Universität
Year of publication: 2022
Pages: 7
Source/Other editions: Mental Health and Physical Activity,19 (2020), 7 S. - ISSN: 1755-2966
is version of: 10.1016/j.mhpa.2020.100356
Year of first publication: 2020
Language(s): English
Licence: Creative Commons - CC BY-NC-ND - Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0 International 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-irb-537330

Little is known about the acute psychological stress responses caused by commuting. Evidence for the benefits of active commuting (e.g., walking, cycling) is usually based on studies without measurements in free-living environments and without consideration of daily variations in stress. This study investigated the association between commuting mode (active, passive) and perceived commuting stress, assessed on multiple days immediately after commuting.


Adults participating in the cross-sectional ‘Healthy On The way’ (HOTway) study between 2016 and 2017 in Graz, Austria, were included. Participants completed an online survey and responded to statements about perceived stress (demands, tension) on three days before commuting (baseline stress) and after arrival (commuting stress), respectively. Active commuting was defined as cycling and/or walking (passive: car, motorbike, public transport).


Of 188 participants (93 women, mean age: 28.0 ± 10.0 years) included, 124 were active and 64 were passive commuters. Active commuting was associated with less perceived commuting stress compared to passive commuting (bi = −2.95, 95% CI: −4.97 to −0.92, p = .005), even after controlling for subjective well-being, physical activity, commuting time and other confounding variables.


Active commuting is related to a small reduction in perceived commuting stress. The results of this study support the promotion of active commuting for population (mental) health but future studies on the causal mechanisms and the role of active commuting in the recovery from previous stressors are needed.
GND Keywords: Pendler; Berufspendler; Körperliche Aktivität; Stress
Keywords: Physical activity, Travel Commuting, Stress Work
DDC Classification: 150 Psychology  
RVK Classification: CP 3900   
Type: Article
Release Date: 13. May 2022

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