Background: Analyzing actigraphy data using standard circadian parametric models and aggregated nonparametric indices may obscure temporal information that may be a hallmark of the circadian impairment in psychiatric disorders. Functional data analysis (FDA) may overcome such limitations by fully exploiting the richness of actigraphy data and revealing important relationships with mental health outcomes. To our knowledge, no studies have extensively used FDA to study the relationship between sociodemographic, health and lifestyle, sampling, and psychiatric clinical characteristics and daily motor activity patterns assessed with actigraphy in a sample of individuals with and without depression/anxiety. Objective: We aimed to study the association between daily motor activity patterns assessed via actigraphy and (1) sociodemographic, health and lifestyle, and sampling factors, and (2) psychiatric clinical characteristics (ie, presence and severity of depression/anxiety disorders). Methods: We obtained 14-day continuous actigraphy data from 359 participants from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety with current (n=93), remitted (n=176), or no (n=90) depression/anxiety diagnosis, based on the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition. Associations between patterns of daily motor activity, quantified via functional principal component analysis (fPCA), and sociodemographic, health and lifestyle, sampling, and psychiatric clinical characteristics were assessed using generalized estimating equation regressions. For exploratory purposes, function-on-scalar regression (FoSR) was applied to quantify the time-varying association of sociodemographic, health and lifestyle, sampling, and psychiatric clinical characteristics on daily motor activity. Results: Four components of daily activity patterns captured 77.4% of the variability in the data: overall daily activity level (fPCA1, 34.3% variability), early versus late morning activity (fPCA2, 16.5% variability), biphasic versus monophasic activity (fPCA3, 14.8% variability), and early versus late biphasic activity (fPCA4, 11.8% variability). A low overall daily activity level was associated with a number of sociodemographic, health and lifestyle, and psychopathology variables: older age (P<.001), higher education level (P=.005), higher BMI (P=.009), greater number of chronic diseases (P=.02), greater number of cigarettes smoked per day (P=.02), current depressive and/or anxiety disorders (P=.05), and greater severity of depressive symptoms (P<.001). A high overall daily activity level was associated with work/school days (P=.02) and summer (reference: winter; P=.03). Earlier morning activity was associated with older age (P=.02), having a partner (P=.009), work/school days (P<.001), and autumn and spring (reference: winter; P=.02 and P<.001, respectively). Monophasic activity was associated with older age (P=.005). Biphasic activity was associated with work/school days (P<.001) and summer (reference: winter; P<.001). Earlier biphasic activity was associated with older age (P=.005), work/school days (P<.001), and spring and summer (reference: winter; P<.001 and P=.005, respectively). In FoSR analyses, age, work/school days, and season were the main determinants having a time-varying association with daily motor activity (all P<.05). Conclusions: Features of daily motor activity extracted with fPCA reflect commonly studied factors such as the intensity of daily activity and preference for morningness/eveningness. The presence and severity of depression/anxiety disorders were found to be associated mainly with a lower overall activity pattern but not with the time of the activity. Age, work/school days, and season were the variables most strongly associated with patterns and time of activity, and thus future epidemiological studies on motor activity in depression/anxiety should take these variables into account.