Measuring total and domain-specific sitting: a study of reliability and validity.

Research paper by Alison L AL Marshall, Yvette D YD Miller, Nicola W NW Burton, Wendy J WJ Brown

Indexed on: 10 Dec '09Published on: 10 Dec '09Published in: Medicine and science in sports and exercise


Although independent relationships between sitting behaviors (mainly television viewing) and health outcomes have been reported, few studies have examined the measurement properties of self-report sitting questions. This study assessed gender-specific test-retest reliability and validity of a questionnaire that assessed time spent sitting on weekdays and weekend days: 1) traveling to and from places, 2) at work, 3) watching television, 4) using a computer at home, and 5) for leisure, not including television.Test-retest reliability of domain-specific sitting time (min x d(-1)) on weekdays and weekend days was assessed using data collected on two occasions (median = 11 d apart). Validity of domain-specific self-reported sitting time on weekdays and weekend days was assessed against log data and sedentary accelerometer data.Complete repeat questionnaire and log data were obtained from 157 women (aged 51-59 yr) and 96 men (aged 45-63 yr). Reliability coefficients were high for weekday sitting time at work, watching television, and using a computer at home (r = 0.84-0.78) but lower for weekend days across all domains (r = 0.23-0.74). Validity coefficients were highest for weekday sitting time at work and using a computer at home (r = 0.69-0.74). With the exception of computer use and watching television for women, validity of the weekend-day sitting time items was low.This study confirms the importance of measuring domain- and day-specific sitting time. The measurement properties of questions that assess structured domain-specific and weekday sitting time were acceptable and may be used in future studies that aim to elucidate associations between domain-specific sitting and health outcomes.