Psychological Aspects of Stair Use: A Systematic Review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • University of Georgia


Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
StatusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


Stair use, a common lifestyle activity, is a moderate-to-vigorous physical activity that, despite often being brief in duration, may contribute to psychological health. A systematic literature review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) method to summarize psychological aspects related to stair use. Included studies examined at least 1 psychological outcome in relation to either objective measures of stair use, such as time or stair height, or subjective measures of, or measures related to, stair use such as perceived difficulty using stairs. A total of 22 studies met the inclusion criteria; 12 used subjective stair use measures and 10 used objective stair use measures. The limited evidence from studies using self-reports supported that (1) perceived difficulty using stairs was positively associated with increased symptoms of anxiety and depression and (2) stair use was not associated with a reduced incidence of mental illnesses such as depression, suicide, or dementia. Studies using objective measures of stair use supported that (3) elevated symptoms of anxiety and depression are negatively associated with stair use performance. Given the widespread use of stairs, there is surprisingly little data about the extent to which, and for whom, stair use influences psychological health.

    Research areas

  • anxiety, depression, fatigue, mental illness, physical activity, stairs

Citation formats


Gay, J. L., Cherof, S. A., LaFlamme, C. C., & O’Connor, P. J. (Accepted/In press). Psychological Aspects of Stair Use: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.


Gay, JL, Cherof, SA, LaFlamme, CC & O’Connor, PJ 2019, 'Psychological Aspects of Stair Use: A Systematic Review', American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.