Measuring the Ability to Tolerate Activity-Related Discomfort: Initial Validation of the Physical Activity Acceptance Questionnaire (PAAQ)

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Physical activity (PA) is essential for health, but many adults find PA adherence challenging. Acceptance of discomfort related to PA may influence an individual’s ability to begin and sustain a program of exercise. The aim of this study was to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Physical Activity Acceptance Questionnaire (PAAQ).


The PAAQ was administered to 3 distinct samples (N = 418). Each sample completed additional self-report measures; 1 sample also wore accelerometers for 7 days (at baseline and 6 months later).


The PAAQ demonstrated high internal validity for its total score (α = .89) and 2 subscales (Cognitive Acceptance α = .86, Behavioral Commitment α = .85). The PAAQ also showed convergent validity with measures of mindfulness, self-reported physical activity levels, and accelerometer-verified levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA; P-values < .05). The Cognitive Acceptance subscale showed predictive validity for objectively-verified PA levels among individuals attempting to increase PA over 6 months (P = .05). Test-retest reliability for a subset of participants (n = 46) demonstrated high consistency over 1 week (P < .0001).


The PAAQ demonstrates sound psychometric properties, and shows promise for improving the current understanding of PA facilitators and barriers among adults.

Butryn (, Kerrigan, and Forman are with the Dept of Psychology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA. Arigo is with the Dept of Psychology, University of Scranton, Scranton, PA. Raggio is with the VA Boston Healthcare System, Behavioral Medicine Program. Kaufman is with the Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.