An evaluation of three self-report physical activity instruments for older adults

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jun;33(6):962-70. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200106000-00016.


Purpose: To assess the known-groups and construct validity of measures from the CHAMPS Physical Activity Questionnaire, Physical Activity Survey for the Elderly (PASE), and the Yale Physical Activity Survey (YPAS).

Methods: The three questionnaires were administered to a convenience sample of older adults (N = 87) recruited from community centers and retirement homes. Validation measures included the SF-36 measures of physical functioning, general health, mental health, and pain; body mass index; performance-based tests of lower body functioning and endurance; and Mini-Logger activity monitor data from ankle and waist sensors. Validity was estimated by testing hypotheses about associations between physical activity and validation measures.

Results: As hypothesized, differences in activity levels on all measures were found between older adults in retirement homes (less active) and community centers (more active) (P-values < 0.0001). Correlations of physical activity measures with performance-based measures ranged from 0.44 to 0.68, conforming to hypotheses; hypotheses regarding associations with the SF-36 measures were also confirmed. Body mass index was not correlated with any of the physical activity measures, contrary to hypotheses. Correlations of physical activity measures with Mini-Logger counts ranged from 0.36 to 0.59 (ankle) and 0.42 to 0.61 (waist) as hypothesized. Correlations among the measures from the three instruments ranged from 0.58 to 0.68.

Conclusions: The PASE, YPAS, and CHAMPS each demonstrated acceptable validity, as all measures met nearly all hypotheses. Higher validity coefficients were found for subgroups (men, 65-74 yr, retirement home), suggesting that these instruments may perform better for certain segments of the older adult population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires