Development of a direct observation Measure of Environmental Qualities of Activity Settings




The aim of this study was to develop an observer-rated measure of aesthetic, physical, social, and opportunity-related qualities of leisure activity settings for young people (with or without disabilities).


Eighty questionnaires were completed by sets of raters who independently rated 22 community/home activity settings. The scales of the 32-item Measure of Environmental Qualities of Activity Settings (MEQAS; Opportunities for Social Activities, Opportunities for Physical Activities, Pleasant Physical Environment, Opportunities for Choice, Opportunities for Personal Growth, and Opportunities to Interact with Adults) were determined using principal components analyses. Test–retest reliability was determined for eight activity settings, rated twice (4–6wk interval) by a trained rater.


The factor structure accounted for 80% of the variance. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy was 0.73. Cronbach's alphas for the scales ranged from 0.76 to 0.96, and interrater reliabilities (ICCs) ranged from 0.60 to 0.93. Test–retest reliabilities ranged from 0.70 to 0.90.


Results suggest that the MEQAS has a sound factor structure and preliminary evidence of internal consistency, interrater, and test–retest reliability. The MEQAS is the first observer-completed measure of environmental qualities of activity settings. The MEQAS allows researchers to assess comprehensively qualities and affordances of activity settings, and can be used to design and assess environmental qualities of programs for young people.