Sports Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 601–623 | Cite as

Self-Administered Physical Activity Questionnaires for the Elderly

A Systematic Review of Measurement Properties
  • Lisa ForsénEmail author
  • Nina Waaler Loland
  • Anne Vuillemin
  • Mai J. M. Chinapaw
  • Mireille N. M. van Poppel
  • Lidwine B. Mokkink
  • Willem van Mechelen
  • Caroline B. Terwee
Research Review


Objective: To systematically review and appraise studies examining self-administered physical activity questionnaires (PAQ) for the elderly. This article is one of a group of four articles in Sports Medicine on the content and measurement properties of PAQs.

Literature Search Methodology: Searches in Pub Med, EMBASE and Sport Discus® (until May 2009) on self-administered PAQ. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (i) the study examined (at least one of) the measurement properties of a self-administered PAQ; (ii) the questionnaire aimed to measure physical activity (PA) in older people; (iii) the average age of the study population was >55 years; (iv) the article was written in English. We excluded PA interviews, diaries and studies that evaluated the measurement properties of a self-administered PAQ in a specific population, such as patients. We used a standard checklist (qualitative attributes and measurement properties of PA questionnaires [QAPAQ]) for appraising the measurement properties of PAQs.

Findings: Eighteen articles on 13 PAQs were reviewed, including 16 reliability analyses and 25 validity analyses (of which 15 were on construct validity, seven on health/functioning associations, two on known-groups validity and one on responsiveness). Many studies suffered from methodological flaws, e.g. too small sample size or inadequate time interval between test and retest. Three PAQs received a positive rating on reliability: IPAQ-C (International Physical Activity Questionnaire—Chinese), intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) ≥0.81; WHI-PAQ (Women’s Health InitiativePAQ), ICC = 0.76; and PASE (Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly), Pearson correlation coefficient (r) = 0.84. However, PASE was negatively rated on reliability in another study (ICC = 0.65). One PAQ received a positive rating on construct validity: PASE against Mini-Logger (r > 0.52), but PASE was negatively rated in another study against accelerometer and another PAQ, Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.17 and 0.48, respectively. Three of the 13 PAQs were tested for health/functioning associations and all three were positively rated in some categories of PA in many studies (r > 0.30).

Conclusions: Even though several studies showed an association between the tested PAQ and health/functioning variables, the knowledge about reliability and construct validity of self-administrated PAQs for older adults is still scarce and more high-quality validation studies are needed.


Physical Activity Intraclass Correlation Coefficient Measurement Property Pase Light Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The collaboration for this manuscript was planned at one of the meetings of the European Network for Action on Ageing and Physical Activity (EUNAAPA). The authors thank the European Commission, Directorate C – Public Health and Risk Assessment, for this network under the programme of community action in the field of public health (2003–8). The content of the article does not represent the opinion of the European Community, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that might be made of the information presented in the text.

No sources of funding were used in the preparation of this article. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Forsén
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nina Waaler Loland
    • 2
  • Anne Vuillemin
    • 3
  • Mai J. M. Chinapaw
    • 4
  • Mireille N. M. van Poppel
    • 4
  • Lidwine B. Mokkink
    • 5
  • Willem van Mechelen
    • 4
  • Caroline B. Terwee
    • 5
  1. 1.Norwegian Institute of Public HealthDivision of EpidemiologyOsloNorway
  2. 2.Faculty of Health ScienceOslo University CollegeOsloNorway
  3. 3.Nancy-Université, Université Paul Verlaine MetzUniversité Paris Descartes, EA 4360 ApemacNancyFrance
  4. 4.Department of Public and Occupational Health and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamthe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamthe Netherlands

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