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Validity of instruments to measure physical activity may be questionable due to a lack of conceptual frameworks: a systematic review

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Author(s): Gimeno-Santos Elena | Frei Anja | Dobbels Fabienne | Rüdell Katja | Puhan Milo | Garcia-Aymerich Judith

Journal: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes
ISSN 1477-7525

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 86;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Chronic heart disease | chronic respiratory disease | conceptual framework | elderly | patient reported outcomes | physical activity | questionnaire | systematic review

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Guidance documents for the development and validation of patient-reported outcomes (PROs) advise the use of conceptual frameworks, which outline the structure of the concept that a PRO aims to measure. It is unknown whether currently available PROs are based on conceptual frameworks. This study, which was limited to a specific case, had the following aims: (i) to identify conceptual frameworks of physical activity in chronic respiratory patients or similar populations (chronic heart disease patients or the elderly) and (ii) to assess whether the development and validation of PROs to measure physical activity in these populations were based on a conceptual framework of physical activity. Methods Two systematic reviews were conducted through searches of the Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cinahl databases prior to January 2010. Results In the first review, only 2 out of 581 references pertaining to physical activity in the defined populations provided a conceptual framework of physical activity in COPD patients. In the second review, out of 103 studies developing PROs to measure physical activity or related constructs, none were based on a conceptual framework of physical activity. Conclusions These findings raise concerns about how the large body of evidence from studies that use physical activity PRO instruments should be evaluated by health care providers, guideline developers, and regulatory agencies.

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