Self-administered questionnaire compared with interview to assess past-year physical activity

A Vuillemin, J M Oppert, F Guillemin, L Essermeant, A M Fontvieille, P Galan, A M Kriska, S Hercberg
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2000, 32 (6): 1119-24

PURPOSE: The Modifiable Activity Questionnaire (MAQ) is a physical activity questionnaire shown to be both valid and reliable and was initially designed to be interviewer-administered. After translation and adaptation into French, the objective of the study was to compare past-year physical activity data obtained by self-administration of this questionnaire and by interviewer-administration.

METHODS: 84 subjects (22 men, 62 women, age 36-63 yr) enrolled in an ongoing prospective study in France (the SUpplementation en VItamines et Minéraux AntioXydants or SU.VI.MAX study) completed both versions of the questionnaire in a randomized order with a mean (SD) delay of 7.9 (5.8) d between the two modes. Past-year leisure and occupational physical activity were expressed as both h x wk(-1) and MET-h x wk(-1) of activity, and television watching was expressed as h x d(-1). Analysis of variance on ranks was used to compare activity variables obtained by self-administration and interview. Agreement was assessed by nonparametric intraclass correlation coefficients.

RESULTS: A significant effect of the mode of administration was found only for past-year leisure physical activity with lower values reported in self-administered conditions compared with interview. However, a high level of concordance between the two modes of administration was observed for all variables as shown by the intraclass correlation coefficients: 0.90 for leisure physical activity (h x wk(-1)), 0.82 for occupational activity (h x wk(-1)), 0.83 for total (leisure and occupational combined) physical activity (h x wk(-1)), and 0.97 for television viewing (h x d(-1)).

CONCLUSIONS: The agreement between the two modes of administration of the questionnaire suggests that the self-administered version of the MAQ is a valuable tool to assess past-year physical activity and inactivity in self-administered conditions. This instrument could be used in large-scale population studies investigating the relationships between physical activity and health outcomes.

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