The purpose of this research was to qualitatively generate and psychometrically assess an instrument which assesses the self-perceived physical fitness and exercise activity levels of community-dwelling older adults and examines perceived factors which enhance or impede their exercise activity level. This research was carried out in two stages: qualitative and quantitative. Items for the instrument were generated through qualitative interviews with 23 community-dwelling older adults, 9 males and 14 females, with an age range of 63 to 82 years. From this qualitative study, 50 items were generated, representing nine categories of elements which enhance or impede physical activity. The 50 items were incorporated into a 4-point, forced-choice, Likert format instrument which was pilot tested for clarity and ease of administration with a convenience sample of community-dwelling older adults. Following the pilot testing, 41 items were retained. The 41-item instrument, entitled Physical Fitness and Exercise Activity Levels of Older Adults Scale, was categorized into the following subscales: Physical Fitness, Barriers, Motivators, and Exercise Frequency. Initial testing of the Physical Fitness and Exercise Activity Levels of Older Adults Scale seems to indicate adequate validity and reliability. Correlation coefficients for the total instrument, as well as the subscales, were significantly positive for both stability and internal consistency. Results with respect to predictive validity were mixed. The Physical Fitness and Motivators subscales were significant predictors of Exercise Frequency. Although the correlation between the Barriers subscale and Exercise Frequency was negative, it was non-significant.
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