Validity of two self-report measures of sitting time

J Phys Act Health. 2012 May;9(4):533-9. doi: 10.1123/jpah.9.4.533. Epub 2011 May 12.


Background: In light of evidence linking sedentary behaviors to health outcomes, there have been calls for the measurement of sedentary behavior in surveillance studies. This study examined the convergent validity of 2 self-report measures of sitting time and accelerometer-determined sedentary time (minutes/day of <100 counts/minute).

Methods: 44 adults wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 7 days, during which they also recorded daily sitting time in a diary, in response to a single-item question. After 7 days, participants completed a new domain-specific questionnaire to assess usual weekday and weekend-day sitting time. Total sitting times recorded from the self-report measures were compared with accelerometer-determined sedentary time.

Results: Total sitting time calculated from the domain-specific questionnaire did not differ significantly from accelerometer-determined sedentary time on weekdays (mean difference [±SE] = -14 ± 28 mins/day) and weekend days (-4 ± 45 mins/day, both P > .05). Sitting time was significantly underestimated using the single-item specific-day question on weekdays (-173 ± 18 mins/day) and weekend days (-219 ± 23 mins/day, both P < .001).

Conclusions: When assessed via self-report, the estimation of total sitting time is improved by summing sitting times reported across different domains. The continued improvement of self-report measures of sitting time will be important if we are to further our understanding of the links between sedentary behavior and health.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Actigraphy / instrumentation*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television
  • Time*
  • Young Adult