Perceived characteristics of the environment associated with active travel: development and testing of a new scale

Ogilvie, D., Mitchell, R. , Mutrie, N., Petticrew, M. and Platt, S. (2008) Perceived characteristics of the environment associated with active travel: development and testing of a new scale. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(32), (doi:10.1186/1479-5868-5-32)

Ogilvie, D., Mitchell, R. , Mutrie, N., Petticrew, M. and Platt, S. (2008) Perceived characteristics of the environment associated with active travel: development and testing of a new scale. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(32), (doi:10.1186/1479-5868-5-32)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-5-32

Abstract

Background Environmental characteristics may be associated with patterns of physical activity. However, the development of instruments to measure perceived characteristics of the local environment is still at a comparatively early stage, and published instruments are not necessarily suitable for application in all settings. We therefore developed and established the test-retest reliability of a new scale for use in a study of the correlates of active travel and overall physical activity in deprived urban neighbourhoods in Glasgow, Scotland. Methods We developed and piloted a 14-item scale based on seven constructs identified from the literature (aesthetics, green space, access to amenities, convenience of routes, traffic, road safety and personal safety). We administered the scale to all participants in a random postal survey (n = 1322) and readministered the scale to a subset of original respondents (n = 125) six months later. We used principal components analysis and Varimax rotation to identify three principal components (factors) and derived summary scores for subscales based on these factors. We examined the internal consistency of these subscales using Cronbach's alpha and examined the test-retest reliability of the individual items, the subscale summary scores and an overall summary neighbourhood score using a combination of correlation coefficients and Cohen's kappa with and without weighting. Results Public transport and proximity to shops were the items most likely to be rated positively, whereas traffic volume, traffic noise and road safety for cyclists were most likely to be rated negatively. Three principal components – 'safe and pleasant surroundings', 'low traffic' and 'convenience for walking' – together explained 45% of the total variance. The test-retest reliability of individual items was comparable with that of items in other published scales (intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) 0.34–0.70; weighted Cohen's kappa 0.24–0.59). The overall summary neighbourhood score had acceptable internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha 0.72) and test-retest reliability (ICC 0.73). Conclusion This new scale contributes to the development of a growing set of tools for investigating the role of perceived environmental characteristics in explaining or mediating patterns of active travel and physical activity.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Richard and Petticrew, Dr Mark and Ogilvie, David
Authors: Ogilvie, D., Mitchell, R., Mutrie, N., Petticrew, M., and Platt, S.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1479-5868
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2008 BioMed Central
First Published:First published in The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 5(32)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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