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Title:Differential Item Functioning Analysis of Physical Activity Disparities in the U.S
Author(s):Gao, Yong
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zhu, Weimo
Department / Program:Kinesiology and Community Health
Discipline:Kinesiology and Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Public Health
Abstract:Self-report physical activity (PA) questionnaires have been widely used by major national surveillance systems to assess and monitor the PA status of the U.S. population. The comparisons among subpopulations using these data indicate evident PA disparities. However, it is unknown if the items used in these questionnaires are biased against a subgroup in the population. It is also not clear to what degree the disparities in PA are affected by the biased items if there are any. In addition, the elimination of PA disparities should result in better health for subpopulations. An effective PA intervention program should identify and include subpopulation sensitive components such as the preferred PA. By applying differential item functioning (DIF) analysis, the purpose of this study was: (a) to determine if there are any DIF items in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) PA questionnaire; (b) to identify subpopulation preferred PA; and (c) to examine the impact of DIF items, if there are any, on current PA disparity conclusions. A sub-set of adult data from the "NHANES 2003-2004" data sets with an unweighted sample of 3,083 consisting of 1,511 males and 1,572 females was used for data analyses. DIF analyses were conducted using three DIF procedures: Mantel-Haenszel, SIBTEST and ANOVA. Eight general PA items related to respondents' occupational, transportation, domestic, leisure time, and strength related activities and sedentary activities at home, and 33 specific PA items related to moderate and vigorous PA reported during leisure time were analyzed for DIF. A "Jackknife" procedure was used to determine the impact of DIF items on the current PA disparities conclusions. The results showed there are many DIF items among both general and specific PA questions used in the NHANES PA questionnaire. A majority of general PA DIF items favored advantaged social groups (e.g., non-Hispanic White, male, high education or income group, and adults age 20 to 59 years old) while occupational and transportation-related PA items favored disadvantaged groups (e.g., Hispanics, low education group, and low income group). The reported PA participation among subpopulations were likely affected by these DIF items and the estimation of the population meeting PA recommendations using these items is likely inaccurate. DIF methods were able to identify subpopulation preferred PA, which provides information to allow a deeper understanding of a subgroup's PA pattern which in turn can help design targeted interventions. Thus PA researchers need to learn DIF and make DIF analysis a standard practice in PA survey construction. There is also a need for the development of DIF software that can specifically handle PA data.
Issue Date:2008
Description:202 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3337762
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2008

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