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Internal Consistency, Concurrent Validity, and Discriminant Validity of a Measure of Public Support for Policies for Active Living in Transportation (PAL-T) in a Population-based Sample of Adults


Active living is a broad conceptualization of physical activity that incorporates domains of exercise; recreational, household, and occupational activities; and active transportation. Policy makers develop and implement a variety of transportation policies that can influence choices about how to travel from one location to another. In making such decisions, policy makers act in part in response to public opinion or support for proposed policies. Measures of the public’s support for policies aimed at promoting active transportation can inform researchers and policy makers. This study examined the internal consistency, and concurrent and discriminant validity of a newly developed measure of the public’s support for policies for active living in transportation (PAL-T). A series of 17 items representing potential policies for promoting active transportation was generated. Two samples of participants (n = 2,001 and n = 2,502) from Montreal, Canada, were recruited via random digit dialling. Analyses were conducted on the combined data set (n = 4,503). Participants were aged 18 through 94 years (58% female). The concurrent and discriminant validity of the PAL-T was assessed by examining relationships with physical activity and smoking. To explore the usability of the PAL-T, predicted scale scores were compared to the summed values of responses. Results showed that the internal consistency of the PAL-T was 0.70. Multilevel regression demonstrated no relationship between the PAL-T and smoking status (p > 0.05) but significant relationships with utilitarian walking (p < 0.05) and cycling (p < 0.01) for at least 30 minutes on 5 days/week. The PAL-T has acceptable internal consistency and good concurrent and discriminant validity. Measuring public opinion can inform policy makers and support advocacy efforts aimed at making built environments more suitable for active transportation while allowing researchers to examine the antecedents and consequences of public support for policies.

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An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Behavioral Medicine in Seattle, April 2010. Research reported in this paper was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health research (CIHR Grant # GIR-99711to the authors and LG’s Applied Public Health Chair). DF holds a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. LG holds a CIHR/CRPO (Centre de recherche en prevention de l’obésité) Chair in Applied Public Health on Neighborhoods, Lifestyle, and Healthy Body Weight.

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Correspondence to Daniel Fuller.

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Fuller, D., Gauvin, L., Fournier, M. et al. Internal Consistency, Concurrent Validity, and Discriminant Validity of a Measure of Public Support for Policies for Active Living in Transportation (PAL-T) in a Population-based Sample of Adults. J Urban Health 89, 258–269 (2012).

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  • Active living
  • Physical activity
  • Public opinion
  • Transportation
  • Active transportation