Background Childhood obesity rates have been rising rapidly in developing countries. A better understanding of the risk factors and social context is necessary to inform public health interventions and policies. This paper describes the validation of several measurement scales for use in Turkey, which relate to child and parent perceptions of physical activity (PA) and enablers and barriers of physical activity in the home environment. Method The aim of this study was to assess the validity and reliability of several measurement scales in Turkey using a population sample across three socio-economic strata in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Surveys were conducted in Grade 4 children (mean age = 9.7 years for boys; 9.9 years for girls), and their parents, across 6 randomly selected schools, stratified by SES (n = 641 students, 483 parents). Construct validity of the scales was evaluated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Internal consistency of scales and test-retest reliability were assessed by Cronbach’s alpha and intra-class correlation. Results The scales as a whole were found to have acceptable-to-good model fit statistics (PA Barriers: RMSEA = 0.076, SRMR = 0.0577, AGFI = 0.901; PA Outcome Expectancies: RMSEA = 0.054, SRMR = 0.0545, AGFI = 0.916, and PA Home Environment: RMSEA = 0.038, SRMR = 0.0233, AGFI = 0.976). The PA Barriers subscales showed good internal consistency and poor to fair test-retest reliability (personal α = 0.79, ICC = 0.29, environmental α = 0.73, ICC = 0.59). The PA Outcome Expectancies subscales showed good internal consistency and test-retest reliability (negative α = 0.77, ICC = 0.56; positive α = 0.74, ICC = 0.49). Only the PA Home Environment subscale on support for PA was validated in the final confirmatory model; it showed moderate internal consistency and test-retest reliability (α = 0.61, ICC = 0.48). Discussion This study is the first to validate measures of perceptions of physical activity and the physical activity home environment in Turkey. Our results support the originally hypothesized two-factor structures for Physical Activity Barriers and Physical Activity Outcome Expectancies. However, we found the one-factor rather than two-factor structure for Physical Activity Home Environment had the best model fit. This study provides general support for the use of these scales in Turkey in terms of validity, but test-retest reliability warrants further research.
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