Failure to generalize determinants of self-reported physical activity to a motion sensor

Rod K. Dishman, Charles R. Darracott, Leslie T. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that the prediction of physical activity from psychological determinants would differ when free-living physical activity was assessed by electromechanical or self-report methods. We assessed outcome-expectancy values and perceived barriers for physical activity (OEValues/PBarriers) and physical self-efficacy in 44 young (24 yr ± 4.8) Caucasian men (N= 13) and women (N = 31). Two weeks later, subjects kept a daily diary and wore a Caltrac® motion sensor during all ambulation for seven consecutive days. Reliability (P1) across days was high for MET-h of activity estimated by the diary (0.82) and for Caltrac® counts (0.87). Canonical correlation analysis yielded one significant linear combination (RC = 0.55, P < 0.01; redundancy = 0.19 to 0.24) of the set of psychological variables [OEValues/PBarriers (β= 0.76) and physical self-efficacy (B = 0.33)] and the set of physical activity estimates [7-d diary (B = 0.89) and Caltrac® (β = 0.24)]. Multiple correlations indicated that the linear combination of OEValues/PBarriers and physical self-efficacy explained 26% of the variation in MET-h reported in the 7-d diary (P < 0.01) but was unrelated to Caltrac® counts (P> 0.05). The strongest bivariate model included the 7-d diary and OEValues/PBarriers (r = 0.51, P < 0.01). Caltrac® counts were weakly related to OEValues/PBarriers (r = 0.34, P < 0.05). A weak correlation between Caltrac® and the 7-d diary (r = 0.35, P < 0.01) was consistent with past studies. We conclude that the accuracy of predicting physical activity from psychological variables implicated as determinants of physical activity can depend on the method used to assess physical activity. The prediction of self-reported activity did not generalize to an objective motion sensor. Our findings support that the psychological determinants of physical activity will not be known until the dissociation of self-reported physical activity from concurrent objective monitoring is reconciled or understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-910
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1992


  • Activity diary
  • Caltrac®
  • Outcome expectancies and barriers
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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