Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

The development of a reliable theory-based psychological instrument to measure cognitions relating to participation in university recreational sports

Tom St Quinton, Julie A. Brunton



Background: It is important that theoretically informed questionnaires developed using guidelines outlined within the Theory of Planned Behaviour demonstrate reliability. Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the reliability of direct and indirect items examining perceptions towards recreational sports participation by university students. Method: A convenience sample of 28 participants undertaking various degree programmes was used (age M = 18.89, SD = 0.62, female n = 18, male n = 10). Participants completed a theory-based questionnaire at time 1 and two weeks later at time 2. Internal consistency between direct items and correlations between indirect items was conducted. Results: Results showed all constructs measured through direct items had Cronbach’s alphas over 0.8 and all indirect items measuring beliefs were significantly correlated (p < 0.01). Conclusion: The findings demonstrate the reliability of a questionnaire to be used for a future study aimed at identifying specific belief-based intervention targets. The result of such work provides the foundations for interventions promoting participation in recreational university student sport, an expanding yet under-researched population of study.


Theory of planned behaviour; Questionnaire reliability; Sports participation; Cognitions


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