Do Logbooks Influence Recall of Physical Activity in Validation Studies?

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Abstract

Purpose:

To examine whether physical activity logbooks influence estimates of validity of 7-d recall physical activity questionnaires.

Methods:

A convenience sample of 551 adults aged 18–75 yr wore an MTI accelerometer for seven consecutive days and were then randomly administered two of four 7-d recall physical activity questionnaires that varied in length and format (Active Australia Survey (AAS), long and short International Physical Activity Questionnaires (IPAQ-L and IPAQ-S), and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)). A subsample of 75% concurrently completed a physical activity logbook.

Results:

Correlations (rho) between self-reported and measured duration of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity and total activity were similar among participants who received a logbook and those who did not for each of the four instruments. There was also no interaction between assessment method (survey, accelerometer) and the assignment of a logbook. For the IPAQ-L, however, variability in the difference between accelerometer data and responses to the vigorous items was smaller among those assigned a logbook (F = 4.128, df = 260, P = 0.043). Overall, there were no differences in percent agreement or kappa for participation in sufficient levels of physical activity according to receipt of a logbook for any of the surveys.

Conclusion:

The process of self-monitoring through completion of a logbook does not appear to influence estimates of validity for brief or long questionnaires with global questions. Whereas the magnitude of error in accuracy of recall of particular types of activity may be reduced by completion of a logbook that is similar in structure to the survey being validated, this does not appear to influence overall estimates of validity.

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