Measurement of Children’s Real-Time Physical Activity Enjoyment Using a New Visual Analog Scale

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: This study validated the How(e) Happy Scale (HHS) for measuring children’s real-time physical activity (PA) enjoyment across PA type, intensity, sex, and weight status and compared state versus trait enjoyment. Methods: Children’s (N = 31; 9.7 [1.7] y) PA intensity was measured during sport, play, and locomotive PA. Following each activity, children rated their perceived state (HHS) of enjoyment across 4 constructs (social engagement). Questionnaires measured trait PA enjoyment prior to play. Rasch Rating Scale analysis assessed model-data fit and probability distribution of HHS responses. Analyses of variance compared state versus trait PA enjoyment across main effects, and correlations assessed relationships between measured PA intensity versus state and trait PA enjoyment. Results: Trait PA enjoyment was neither different across sex and weight status nor correlated with PA intensity (r = −.16 to .22). By contrast, HHS responses differed across sex, weight status, and PA type and intensity and correlated with PA type (r = −.56 to −.28) and intensity (r = −.29 to −.32). HHS responses were ordered along the probability curve and showed good infit (0.76–1.22) and outfit (0.71–1.28) statistics and good person (r = .62) and item (r = .88) reliability. Conclusion: HHS is valid for detecting differences in real-time enjoyment across PA type and intensity in all children.

Howe is with Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Clevenger is with the Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. McElhiney and Ragan are with Educational Research & Evaluation, Patton College of Education, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Mihalic is with Health Action Council, Cleveland, OH.

Howe ( is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplemental Table (PDF 292 KB)