Ecological momentary assessment of physical activity: Validation study

Academic Article


  • Background: Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) may elicit physical activity (PA) estimates that are less prone to bias than traditional self-report measures while providing context. Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the convergent validity of EMA-assessed PA compared with accelerometry. Methods: The participants self-reported their PA using International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and wore an accelerometer while completing daily EMAs (delivered through the mobile phone) for 7 days. Weekly summary estimates included sedentary time and moderate-, vigorous-, and moderate-to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). Spearman coefficients and Lin's concordance correlation coefficients (LCC) examined the linear association and agreement for EMA and the questionnaires as compared with accelerometry. Results: Participants were aged 43.3 (SD 13.1) years, 51.7% (123/238) were African American, 74.8% (178/238) were overweight or obese, and 63.0% (150/238) were low income. The linear associations of EMA and traditional self-reports with accelerometer estimates were statistically significant (P<.05) for sedentary time (EMA: ρ=.16), moderate-intensity PA (EMA: ρ=.29; BRFSS: ρ=.17; IPAQ: ρ=.24), and MVPA (EMA: ρ=.31; BRFSS: ρ=.17; IPAQ: ρ=.20). Only EMA estimates of PA were statistically significant compared with accelerometer for agreement. Conclusions: The mobile EMA showed better correlation and agreement to accelerometer estimates than traditional self-report methods. These findings suggest that mobile EMA may be a practical alternative to accelerometers to assess PA in free-living settings.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Knell G; Gabriel KP; Businelle MS; Shuval K; Wetter DW; Kendzor DE
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 7