Dyadic Analysis of a Self-report Physical Activity Measure for Adult-Youth Dyads


Adult physical activity levels influence youth physical activity levels, but the nature of this relationship is still unknown. Most research focusing on this topic has been conducted with accelerometers, which are ideal since self-report physical activity measures can be biased. However, self-report measures for physical activity are useful to include in studies to gather information at low-cost. The purpose of this study was to further develop a self-report adult-youth dyad measure of physical activity. This study was conducted using secondary data analysis of the physical activity measures used in an intervention on behavioral nutrition (iCook 4-H). Participants were a sample of 214 adults (M = 39.0, SD = 8.0 years) and youth (M = 9.4, SD = 0.7 years) pairs. Accelerometer data was collected for a subset of youth (n = 122). There was dependency between the adult-youth physical activity data, and a dyadic confirmatory factor analysis model showed good fit to the data and achieved metric invariance, a measure to determine if the same construct was being measured in both youth and adults. Invariance was confirmed across matched versus unmatched sex pairs and some evidence of invariance with youth accelerometer data. Based on study findings, when using self-report measures of physical activity, researchers should measure both members of the adult-youth dyad to get more accurate measurements. Further validation of these findings is needed using an objective physical activity measure, like accelerometers, with all participants and more diverse samples.

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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2012-68001-19605. Other funding is from USDA Experiment Stations authors 2-4 and 7. The funding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results. Special thank you to the iCook participants, program leaders, and the many graduate and undergraduate students from participating universities who made this research positive.

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Correspondence to Zachary J. Kunicki.

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Kunicki, Z.J., Kattelmann, K.K., Olfert, M.D. et al. Dyadic Analysis of a Self-report Physical Activity Measure for Adult-Youth Dyads. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-021-01144-3

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  • Adult-youth dyad
  • Physical activity measurement
  • Self-report
  • Dyadic confirmatory factor analysis