Evaluation of a Questionnaire to Assess Sedentary and Active Behaviors in the Southern Community Cohort Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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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.


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.


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.


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.

Buchowski is with the Dept of Medicine, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Matthews is with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Nutritional Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. Cohen, Signorello, and Blot are with the International Epidemiology Institute, Rockville, MD. Cohen is also with the Dept of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Signorello, Fowke, and Blot are with the Division of Epidemiology, Dept of Medicine, Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN. Hargreaves is with the Dept of Internal Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN. Schlundt is with the Dept of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.