Reliability of a New Measure to Assess Screen Time in Adults

BMC Public Health 19 (19):1-8 (2019)
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Abstract

Background: Screen time among adults represents a continuing and growing problem in relation to health behaviors and health outcomes. However, no instrument currently exists in the literature that quantifies the use of modern screen-based devices. The primary purpose of this study was to develop and assess the reliability of a new screen time questionnaire, an instrument designed to quantify use of multiple popular screen-based devices among the US population. Methods: An 18-item screen-time questionnaire was created to quantify use of commonly used screen devices (e.g. television, smartphone, tablet) across different time points during the week (e.g. weekday, weeknight, weekend). Test-retest reliability was assessed through intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) and standard error of measurement (SEM). The questionnaire was delivered online using Qualtrics and administered through Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Results: Eighty MTurk workers completed full study participation and were included in the final analyses. All items in the screen time questionnaire showed fair to excellent relative reliability (ICCs = 0.50–0.90; all < 0.000), except for the item inquiring about the use of smartphone during an average weekend day (ICC = 0.16, p = 0.069). The SEM values were large for all screen types across the different periods under study. Conclusions: Results from this study suggest this self-administered questionnaire may be used to successfully classify individuals into different categories of screen time use (e.g. high vs. low); however, it is likely that objective measures are needed to increase precision of screen time assessment.

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C. Tyler DesRoches
Arizona State University

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