Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Sociology Matthew Manierre and Associate Physical Therapy Professor Ali Boolani, along with Erica Jansen, an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Michigan, recently published a study that shows the associations between trait energy and fatigue with state energy fatigue, as well as exploring if these relationships interacted with sex and/or sleep quality.
Moods can be classified as either traits, which are more stable characteristics, or states, which is a temporary way of being. In this study, physical and mental energy and fatigue were the points of focus.
“In a previous paper we published, we showed that mental and physical energy and fatigue are four distinct yet overlapping moods,” Boolani said. “Normally when people think of energy and fatigue they think you are either energetic or you are fatigued. It turns out, they are actually distinct. It is not two sides of one coin but instead, it is two different continuums.”
Manierre said this research was focused on whether, for instance, people who are predisposed to being fatigued are also more tired in the present. Boolani and Manierre also wanted to determine if sleep quality and the sex of the individual played a role in their relationship between their trait and state.
“What we were looking at was whether that relationship between disposition toward being tired and their current state was stronger for men or for women. We might think, for instance, that women might be prone to a stronger correlation there because of the life they are living and the environment that they are exposed to versus men,” Manierre said.
Boolani said their research found that trait mental and physical energy and fatigue scores influenced the state. So, for example, people who were normally high trait mental fatigue were most likely to report high mental fatigue in the current.
“We looked to see if there was a sex difference and what we found was trait physical fatigue was associated with sex but it was only for females for high trait. So females who report high trait fatigue also were most likely to report high state physical fatigue. Those who said they were normally physically fatigued were also more likely to report high scores. This started to vanish when we got to lower scores,” Boolani said.
Sleep also impacted the relationship between one’s trait and state, according to Manierre.
“We could see pretty clearly for instance, people who were sleeping poorly ended up having lower state scores if they had high energy trait scores. But, if they were sleeping well we did not see that effect. In a lot of ways, you are seeing that sleep quality can kind of buffer out that problem people might otherwise be having and diminishes the impact.”
That correlation, however, changed when it came to those who reported lower trait scores.
“If I am normally not really energetic, and I don’t sleep well, I still report more physical energy than someone who is normally not very energetic,” Boolani said.
Boolani and Manierre see this study as a stepping stone into more advanced research in this field and plan to continue to elaborate on the relationship between trait and state moods in various ways, as well as to look deeper into whether or not there are clear sex differences.
The study can be found at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0227511