Validity and correlates of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire in first-episode psychosis

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The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) is a self-report tool commonly used in mental healthcare settings to assess physical activity. However, its validity has not yet been investigated in first-episode psychosis (FEP). The aim of this study was to examine the concurrent validity of the IPAQ compared with an objective real-life measure, the Sensewear Armband (SWA), in assessing moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in people with FEP. A secondary aim was to explore whether there are differences in correlates of the IPAQ vs SWA scores.


In total, 19 outpatients with FEP (15 men; 24.4 ± 5.1 years) wore an SWA for 5 full consecutive days, subsequently completed the IPAQ, performed a maximal cardiorespiratory fitness test and were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).


There was no significant correlation between time spent in MVPA according to the IPAQ and SWA. In contrast with SWA scores, there were no significant associations between IPAQ scores and cardiorespiratory fitness levels. No correlations with PANSS scores were observed in both measures.


The current results suggest that the IPAQ should be used with caution when assessing levels of MVPA in FEP. More accurate methods of measuring physical activity are needed in this population.

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