Past-day recall of sedentary time: Validity of a self-reported measure of sedentary time in a university population

Clark, B., Pavey, T., Lim, J., Gomersall, S., & Brown, W. (2014) Past-day recall of sedentary time: Validity of a self-reported measure of sedentary time in a university population. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 18(Supplement 1), e35.

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Sedentary behaviour is associated with several deleterious health consequences. Although device-based measures of sedentary time are available, they are costly and do not provide a measure of domain specific sedentary time. High quality self-report measures are necessary to accurately capture domain specific sedentary time, and to provide an alternative to devices when cost is an issue. In this study, the Past-day Adults’ Sedentary Time (PAST) questionnaire, previously shown to have acceptable validity and reliability in a sample of breast cancer survivors, was modified for a university sample and validity of the modified questionnaire was examined compared with activPAL.


Participants (n = 58, age = 18–55 years, 48% female, 66% students) were recruited from the University of Queensland (students and staff). They answered the PAST questionnaire, which asked about time spent sitting or lying down for work, study, travel, television viewing, leisure-time computer use, reading, eating, socialising and other purposes, during the previous day. Time reported for these questions was summed to provide a measure of total sedentary time. Participants also wore an activPAL device for the full day prior to completing the questionnaire and recorded their wake and sleep times in an activity log. Total waking sedentary time derived from the activPAL was used as the criterion measure. Correlation (Pearson's r) and agreement (Bland–Altman plots) between PAST and activPAL sedentary time were examined.


Participants were sedentary (activPAL-determined) for approximately 66% of waking hours. The correlation between PAST and activPAL sedentary time for the whole sample was r = 0.50 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.28–0.67]; and higher for non-students (r = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.26–0.84) than students (r = 0.46, 95% CI = 0.16–0.68). Bland–Altman plots revealed that the mean difference between the two measures was 19 min although limits of agreement were wide (95% limits of agreement −4.1 to 4.7 h).


The PAST questionnaire provides an acceptable measure of sedentary time in this population, which included students and adults with high workplace sitting. These findings support earlier research that questionnaires employing past-day recall of sedentary time provide a viable alternative to existing sedentary behaviour questionnaires.

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ID Code: 92493
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.11.223
ISSN: 1878-1861
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2016 04:54
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2017 00:28

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