Reproducibility and validity of a self-administered physical activity questionnaire

Int J Epidemiol. 1994 Oct;23(5):991-9. doi: 10.1093/ije/23.5.991.


Background: The reproducibility and validity of self-administered questionnaires on physical activity and inactivity were examined in a random (representative) sample of the Nurses' Health Study II cohort and a random sample of African-American women in that cohort.

Methods: Repeat questionnaires were administered 2 years apart. Past-week activity recalls and 7-day activity diaries were the referent methods; these instruments were sent to participants four times over a 1-year period.

Results: The 2-year test-retest correlation for activity was 0.59 for the representative sample (n = 147) and 0.39 for the African-American sample (n = 84). Correlations between activity reported on recalls and that reported on questionnaire were 0.79 and 0.83 for the representative and African-American samples, respectively. Correlations between activity reported in diaries and that reported on questionnaire were 0.62 and 0.59, respectively. Test-retest coefficients for inactivity were 0.52 and 0.55, respectively. Correlations between inactivity reported in diaries and that reported on questionnaire were 0.41 and 0.44, respectively.

Conclusion: The simple, short questionnaires on activity and inactivity used in the Nurses' Health Study II are reasonably valid measures for epidemiological research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epidemiologic Methods*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*