Development of an Instrument Measuring Perceived Environmental Healthfulness: Behavior Environment Perception Survey (BEPS)

Published:October 22, 2019DOI:



      To create a tool to measure college students’ perception of the healthfulness of their environment.


      (1) Item generation, (2) cognitive interview testing and exploratory factor analysis, (3) item refinement/modification, (4) factor structure validation, and (5) criterion validation.


      Ten college campuses.


      Time point 1 (n = 120 cognitive interviews; n = 922 factor analysis); time point 2 (n = 2,676), convenience sample of undergraduate students.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Cognitive interviews and survey data were used to assess perceptions about the environment.


      Exploratory factor analysis, structural equation confirmatory factor analysis, correlations, and regressions.


      Item generation resulted in 93 items. Items were eliminated based on cognitive interviews, exploratory factor analysis of pilot data, and elimination of cross-loading or weak loading items. In confirmatory analyses, a 21-item, 5-factor structure was the best fit for the data (χ2 = 3,286.77, degrees of freedom = 189; comparative fit index = 0.840; root-mean-square error of approximation = 0.078). Environmental factors include physical activity (α = 0.68, 4 items), healthful eating (α = 0.86, 5 items), mental health (α = 0.85, 5 items), barriers to healthful eating (α = 0.70, 4 items), and peer influences (α = 0.73, 3 items). There were significant associations between scales and validation criteria (P < .05).

      Conclusions and Implications

      The Behavior Environment Perception Survey is a novel instrument measuring perceptions of the healthfulness of the campus environment. Strengths include a development process involving 10 different universities, strong psychometric properties, and breadth of constructs.

      Key Words

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