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Effect of Response Scales on Self-Reported Exercise Frequency

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Objectives: To determine the effects of 5 different numerical response scales—continuous-open, dichotomous-yes/no, and continuous-closed numerical (CCN) with 3 different ranges of response frequencies (low, medium, high)—on the proportion of respondents defined as regular exercisers. Methods: We randomly assigned 500 undergraduate students to complete 1 of the 5 numerical response scales. Results: The percentage of participants defined as regular exercisers ranged from 14% in the CCN low-frequency group to 45% in the CCN high-frequency group χ2 (4, 500) = 28.90; P<.001]. Conclusions: The different numerical response scales have a significant impact on the estimated percentage of regular exercisers.
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Keywords: experimental; instruments; measures; physical activity; response scales

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Physical Education, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 2: School of Physical Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C. Canada. 3: Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society Atlanta, GA, USA.

Publication date: 2003-11-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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