A systematic review of methods to measure family co-participation in physical activity
The family environment is key in influencing children's health behaviours. Encouraging family co-participation in physical activity may therefore be an effective approach to increasing children's physical activity levels. Yet, little is known about how to best assess family co-participation in physical activity. This review summarizes methods to measure family co-participation in physical activity, which was defined as joint physical activities including at least one healthy child (0–18 years) and one other family member. Methods were identified through a systematic literature search, cross-referencing pre-selected reviews and contacting research groups. Thirty-seven measurement methods were included. Questionnaires were the most common method used, with the majority assessing frequency of co-participation and few also assessing duration and type. Reliability and internal consistency of scales were often reported, but rarely specified for the item(s) relevant to co-participation. Other methods of measuring co-participation included diaries, event history calendars, direct observations and accelerometry combined with diary, ecological momentary assessment or global positioning systems (GPS). Whilst a large number of measurement methods of family co-participation in physical activity exist, few are comprehensive and/or report acceptable psychometric properties. Future work should focus on reaching consensus in defining family co-participation in physical activity, and subsequently developing reliable and valid measures.