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BMC Public Health. 2014 May 3;14:423. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-423.

Development and validation of a tool to assess the physical and social environment associated with physical activity among adults in Sri Lanka.

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Department of Community Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka.



Environmental characteristics are known to be associated with patterns of physical activity (PA). Although several validated tools exist, to measure the environment characteristics, these instruments are not necessarily suitable for application in all settings especially in a developing country. This study was carried out to develop and validate an instrument named the "Physical And Social Environment Scale--PASES" to assess the physical and social environmental factors associated with PA. This will enable identification of various physical and social environmental factors affecting PA in Sri Lanka, which will help in the development of more tailored intervention strategies for promoting higher PA levels in Sri Lanka.


The PASES was developed using a scientific approach of defining the construct, item generation, analysis of content of items and item reduction. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of key informant interviews, in-depth interviews and rating of the items generated by experts were conducted. A cross sectional survey among 180 adults was carried out to assess the factor structure through principal component analysis. Another cross sectional survey among a different group of 180 adults was carried out to assess the construct validity through confirmatory factor analysis. Reliability was assessed with test re-test reliability and internal consistency using Spearman r and Cronbach's alpha respectively.


Thirty six items were selected after the expert ratings and were developed into interviewer administered questions. Exploration of factor structure of the 34 items which were factorable through principal component analysis with Quartimax rotation extracted 8 factors. The 34 item instrument was assessed for construct validity with confirmatory factor analysis which confirmed an 8 factor model (x2 = 339.9, GFI = 0.90). The identified factors were infrastructure for walking, aesthetics and facilities for cycling, vehicular traffic safety, access and connectivity, recreational facilities for PA, safety, social cohesion and social acceptance of PA with the two non-factorable factors, residential density and land use mix. The PASES also showed good test re-test reliability and a moderate level of internal consistency.


The PASES is a valid and reliable tool which could be used to assess the physical and social environment associated with PA in Sri Lanka.

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