Evaluation of a questionnaire to assess sedentary and active behaviors in the Southern Community Cohort Study

J Phys Act Health. 2012 Aug;9(6):765-75. doi: 10.1123/jpah.9.6.765. Epub 2011 Aug 2.


Background: Low physical activity (PA) is linked to cancer and other diseases prevalent in racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations. This study evaluated the PA questionnaire (PAQ) used in the Southern Cohort Community Study, a prospective investigation of health disparities between African-American and white adults.

Methods: The PAQ was administered upon entry into the cohort (PAQ1) and after 12-15 months (PAQ2) in 118 participants (40-60 year-old, 48% male, 74% African-American). Test-retest reliability (PAQ1 versus PAQ2) was assessed using Spearman correlations and the Wilcoxon signed rank test. Criterion validity of the PAQ was assessed via comparison with a PA monitor and a last-month PA survey (LMPAS), administered up to 4 times in the study period.

Results: The PAQ test-retest reliability ranged from 0.25-0.54 for sedentary behaviors and 0.22-0.47 for active behaviors. The criterion validity for the PAQ compared with PA monitor ranged from 0.21-0.24 for sedentary behaviors and from 0.17-0.31 for active behaviors. There was general consistency in the magnitude of correlations between the PAQ and PA-monitor between African-Americans and whites.

Conclusions: The SCCS-PAQ has fair to moderate test-retest reliability and demonstrated some evidence of criterion validity for ranking participants by their level of sedentary and active behaviors.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Southeastern United States
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Time Factors
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*