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J Sci Med Sport. 2009 Sep;12(5):539-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2009.01.002. Epub 2009 May 9.

Validity and reliability of instruments to assess potential mediators of children's physical activity: A systematic review.

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Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Australia.


This paper aimed to (1) identify potential mediators reported in children's physical activity interventions; and (2) review the psychometric properties of measures of potential mediators included in such interventions. A systematic search of the literature was conducted and studies that reported potential mediators and/or the psychometric properties of measures of potential mediators were retrieved and reviewed. The studies were reviewed for the following psychometric properties: face/logical, construct, and criterion validity; and test-retest and internal consistency (factor analysis and Cronbach's alpha) reliability. Twenty-one potential mediators were identified from 24 published children's physical activity intervention studies; 17 individual, three social, and one physical environmental. Overall, there was considerable variation in the reporting of the psychometric properties of these measures. Reliability properties (specifically Cronbach's alpha) were more commonly reported than validity properties; however, for many potential mediators, the quality of these measures was low. Future studies should examine the psychometric properties of measures of potential mediators to ensure appropriate, valid and reliable instruments are used. This will assist in the ability to accurately determine the efficacy of physical activity interventions among children.

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