Validity of self-reported measures of workplace sitting time and breaks in sitting time

Clark, Bronwyn K., Thorp, Alicia A., Winkler, Elisabeth A. H., Gardiner, Paul A., Healy, Genevieve N., Owen, Neville and Dunstan, David W. (2011) Validity of self-reported measures of workplace sitting time and breaks in sitting time. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43 10: 1907-1912. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821820a2

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Author Clark, Bronwyn K.
Thorp, Alicia A.
Winkler, Elisabeth A. H.
Gardiner, Paul A.
Healy, Genevieve N.
Owen, Neville
Dunstan, David W.
Title Validity of self-reported measures of workplace sitting time and breaks in sitting time
Journal name Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0195-9131
Publication date 2011-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31821820a2
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 43
Issue 10
Start page 1907
End page 1912
Total pages 6
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose: To understand the prevalence and potential health effect of prolonged workplace sedentary (sitting) time, valid measures are required. Here, we examined the criterion validity of a brief self-reported measure of workplace sitting time and breaks in sitting time.
Methods: An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to assess workplace sitting time (h•d) and breaks from sitting per hour at work in a convenience sample of 121 full-time workers (36% men, mean age = 37 yr, 53% office based). These self-reported measures were compared with accelerometer-derived sedentary time (hours per day, <100 counts per minute) and breaks per sedentary hour (number of times,≥100 counts per minute) during work hours.
Results: Self-reported sitting time was significantly correlated with accelerometer-derived sedentary time (Pearson r = 0.39, 95% confidence interval = 0.22-0.53), with an average sitting time 0.45 h•d -1 higher than average sedentary time. Bland-Altman plots and regression analysis showed positive associations between the difference in sitting and sedentary time and the average of sitting and sedentary time (mean difference =-2.75 h + 0.47 × average sitting and sedentary time; limits of agreement = ±2.25 h•d -1). The correlation of self-reported breaks per sitting hour with accelerometer-derived breaks per sedentary hour was also statistically significant (Spearman r s = 0.26, 95% confidence interval = 0.11-0.44).
Conclusions: This study is the first to examine the criterion validity of an interviewer- administered questionnaire measure of workplace sitting time and breaks in sitting time using objective criterion measures. The workplace sitting measure has acceptable properties for use in observational studies concerned with sedentary behavior in groups of workers; however, the wide limits of agreement suggest caution in estimating individuals' sitting time with high precision. Using self-reported measures to capture patterns of workplace sitting (such as breaks in sitting time) requires further development
Keyword Questionnaire
Sedentary behavior
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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