Background: Capturing dimensions of physical activity relevant to patients may provide a unique perspective for clinical studies of chronically ill patients. However, the quality of the development of existing instruments is uncertain. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the development process of patient-reported outcome (PRO) instruments including their initial validation to measure physical activity in chronically ill or elderly patient populations.Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search of electronic databases (Medline, Embase, Psychinfo, Cinahl) and hand searches. We included studies describing the original development of fully structured instruments measuring dimensions of physical activity or related constructs in chronically ills or elderly. We broadened the population to elderly because they are likely to share physical activity limitations. At least two reviewers independently conducted title and abstract screening and full text assessment. We evaluated instruments in terms of their aim, items identification and selection, domain development, test-retest reliability, internal consistency, validity and responsiveness.Results: Of the 2542 references from the database search and 89 from the hand search, 103 full texts which covered 104 instruments met our inclusion criteria. For almost half of the instruments the authors clearly described the aim of the instruments before the scales were developed. For item identification, patient input was used in 38% of the instruments and in 32% adaptation of existing scales and/or unsystematic literature searches were the only sources for the generation of items. For item reduction, in 56% of the instruments patient input was used and in 33% the item reduction process was not clearly described. Test-retest reliability was assessed for 61%, validity for 85% and responsiveness to change for 19% of the instruments.Conclusions: Many PRO instruments exist to measure dimensions of physical activity in chronically ill and elderly patient populations, which reflects the relevance of this outcome. However, the development processes often lacked definitions of the instruments' aims and patient input. If PROs for physical activity were to be used in clinical trials more attention needs to be paid to the establishment of content validity through patient input and to the assessment of their evaluative measurement properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health