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Abstract

Purpose: Prevalence of physical inactivity is greater in African American (AA) women than any other population sub group. The neighborhood environment is an important influence on physical activity, and accurate measurement of neighborhood perceptions is needed to determine the influence of neighborhood environment on physical activity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the stability of constructs represented by items from the International Prevalence Study (IPS) environmental module among high and low income AA women. Method: African American women (N=387) completed the IPS environmental module questionnaire which measured perception of neighborhood environment. A principle component analysis with varimax rotation was conducted using fifteen of seventeen items from the survey. Factor analysis was conducted separately for high and low income participants. Results: Four factors with eigenvalues ≥ 1.0 were extracted from the 15 item questionnaire for both groups. These four factors accounted for 56.6% of total variance in the high income group, and 53.1% of total variance in the low income group. The four factors for the high income group were Aesthetic Qualities and Social Environment, Neighborhood Safety, Neighborhood Infrastructure, and Destinations and Street Connectivity. The four factors for the low income group were Aesthetic Qualities and Social Environment, Neighborhood Safety, Opportunities to be active and Street Connectivity, and Public Transportation. Conclusion: The factors extracted for high and low income AA women may have been different due to dissimilarities in neighborhood infrastructure, design and quality. Inconsistent grouping of items into factors from the same instrument used to measure perceptions of neighborhood environment underscores the importance of accounting for differences in how high and low income residents perceive their neighborhood when considering physical activity interventions and policies.

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