Objectives: To assess the validity and reliability of the Frenchay Activities Index (FAI) and to establish age and sex norms in people at or over the age of 16 years.
Design and setting: Postal questionnaire survey to 1280 people randomly selected from 8 Health Authority patient registers in England.
Main outcome measures: FAI scores, subscale scores by age and sex, health status, perceived level of activity, and subjects' opinions on how well the FAI reflected their activities. Test-retest reliability was measured in 1 Health Authority.
Results: The response rate was 49%. Men scored lower than women overall and on the domestic activities subscale. Respondents between the ages of 16 and 24 years and those over 85 years had the lowest FAI scores. FAI scores were related to self-reported health status, self-reported levels of activity, and presence of long-standing illness/disability. The FAI has high test-retest reliability. Qualitative data suggested that items such as sport, physical exercise, and caring for children should be included to make the FAI suitable for a wider age range.
Conclusion: The FAI has good construct validity, particularly in middle-aged and elderly people, and is reliable. For the FAI to be valid in nonstroke populations, items specific to younger people must be incorporated into it. We have established preliminary age and sex norms that should be interpreted with caution, given the low response rate.