Open Access Research article

Development and testing of a past year measure of sedentary behavior: the SIT-Q

Brigid M Lynch12*, Christine M Friedenreich34, Farah Khandwala3, Andrew Liu3, Joshua Nicholas3 and Ilona Csizmadi34

Author Affiliations

1 Physical Activity Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia

2 Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

3 Department of Population Health Research, Alberta Health Services - CancerControl Alberta, Calgary, Canada

4 Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:899  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-899

Published: 1 September 2014



Most sedentary behavior measures focus on occupational or leisure-time sitting. Our aim was to develop a comprehensive measure of adult sedentary behavior and establish its measurement properties.


The SIT-Q was developed through expert review (n = 7), cognitive interviewing (n = 11) and pilot testing (n = 34). A convenience sample of 82 adults from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, participated in the measurement property study. Test-retest reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) comparing two administrations of the SIT-Q conducted one month apart. Convergent validity was established using Spearman’s rho, by comparing the SIT-Q estimates of sedentary behaviour with values derived from a 7-Day Activity Diary.


The SIT-Q exhibited good face validity and acceptability during pilot testing. Within the measurement property study, the ICCs for test-retest reliability ranged from 0.31 for leisure-time computer use to 0.86 for occupational sitting. Total daily sitting demonstrated substantial correlation (ICC = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.78). In terms of convergent validity, correlations varied from 0.19 for sitting during meals to 0.76 for occupational sitting. For total daily sitting, estimates derived from the SIT-Q and 7 Day Activity Diaries were moderately correlated (ρ = 0.53, p < 0.01).


The SIT-Q has acceptable measurement properties for use in epidemiologic studies.

Sedentary behavior; Sitting time; Questionnaire; Cognitive interviewing; Reliability; Validity