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Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 Jan;37(1):6-29. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

The repeatability and validity of questionnaires assessing occupational physical activity--a systematic review.

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Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.



This study aims to review systematically the repeatability and validity of questionnaires used to assess occupational physical activity among healthy adults.


We searched PubMed and Embase using occupational, work-related, job-related, physical activity, motor activity, and questionnaires as keywords. Two reviewers independently performed article selection, data extraction, and quality assessment. The methodological quality and results of the studies were evaluated based on an existing checklist. The level of evidence and repeatability, criterion, and construct validity were rated.


We included 31 papers describing 30 questionnaires in the review. Repeatability was assessed in 22 studies, 11 used appropriate measures to assess 12 questionnaires. Intra-class correlation coefficients and weighted Cohen's kappa ranged between 0.43-0.95. Six studies used appropriate measures to assess criterion validity of 13 questionnaires. One questionnaire, the Tecumseh Self Administered Occupational Physical Activity Questionnaire (TOQ), showed good criterion validity against a physical activity (PA) record. Eighteen studies used appropriate measures to assess the construct validity of 23 questionnaires. Comparison included those against accelerometers, maximal oxygen uptake, questionnaires, and body composition measures. None showed good construct validity.


There is strong evidence for good reliability of four questionnaires. None of the reviewed questionnaires showed good criterion validity compared to objective measures. Compared to PA records, moderate-to-good validity was observed for two questionnaires. Objective measures of occupational PA are needed.

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