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How Well Do Adolescents Know Their Local Parks? Test-Retest Reliability and Validity of an Adolescent Self-Report Park Survey for Diverse Low-Income Urban Neighborhoods

Slater S, Fitzgibbon M, Floyd MF. Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior, 1:108, 2013. 

Background: The study aimed to develop a self-report park survey tailored to underserved populations at risk of obesity (low income urban youth), and to determine the feasibility and reliability of collecting park measures from memory.

Methods: Sixth through 8th grade students were recruited from two purposively selected urban schools (one predominantly African American and the other predominantly Latino with high proportions of lower-income students). A total of 103 (47 male) students participated in the test-retest reliability of the survey. Research staff conducted field audits of neighborhood parks/physical activity settings (N=21) to determine concurrent validity of the self-report surveys.

Results: Overall, youth participants had good reliability on two-thirds of the survey measures. Validity results suggest students had poor percent agreement on the majority of park/physical activity setting features. Although both schools had similar overall validity results, the only common validated feature was playgrounds.

Conclusions: Results suggest most measures were understood by participants, but overall youth could not validly report what physical activity features are accessible to them from memory. This suggests that if youth do not know the features that exist in their neighborhood, then they are probably not utilizing them for physical activity.

Read the complete article (open access) on Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior

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