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Twelve-Month Stability of Accelerometer-Measured Occupational and Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Compensation Effects

Jennifer L. Gay and David M. Buchner

Introduction: Little is known about the stability of occupational physical activity (PA) and documented compensation effects over time. Study objectives were to (a) determine the stability of accelerometer estimates of occupational and nonoccupational PA over 6 months and 1 year in adults who do not change jobs, (b) examine PA stability in office workers relative to employees with nonoffice jobs who may be more susceptible to seasonal perturbations in work tasks, and (c) examine the stability data for compensation effects seen at baseline in this sample. Methods: City/county government workers from a variety of labor sectors wore an accelerometer at initial data collection, and at 6 (n = 98) and 12 months (n = 38) following initial data collection. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated for accelerometer counts and minutes by intensity, domain, and office worker status. Partial correlation coefficients were examined for compensation effects. Results: ICCs ranged from .19 to .91 for occupational and nonwork activity variables. ICCs were similar by office worker status. In both counts and minutes, greater occupational PA correlated with lower total nonwork PA. However, as minutes of occupational moderate to vigorous physical activity increased, nonoccupational moderate to vigorous physical activity did not decrease. Conclusions: There was moderate to high stability in occupational and nonoccupational PA over 6- and 12-month data collection. Occupational PA stability was greater in nonoffice workers, suggesting that those employees’ PA may be less prone to potential cyclical factors at the workplace. Confirmation of the compensation effect further supports the need for workplace intervention studies to examine changes in all intensities of activity during and outside of work time.