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Purpose: Develop and demonstrate preliminary validation of a brief questionnaire aimed at assessing social cognitive determinants of physical activity (PA) in a college population.

Design: Quantitative and observational.

Setting: A midsized northeastern university.

Subjects: Convenience sample of 827 male and female college students age 18 to 24 years.

Measures: International Physical Activity Questionnaire and a PA stage-of-change algorithm.

Analysis: A sequential process of survey development, including item generation and data reduction analyses by factor analysis, was followed with the goal of creating a parsimonious questionnaire. Structural equation modeling was used for confirmatory factor analysis and construct validation was confirmed against self-reported PA and stage of change. Validation analyses were replicated in a second, independent sample of 1032 college students.

Results: Fifteen items reflecting PA self-regulation, outcome expectations, and personal barriers explained 65% of the questionnaire data and explained 28.6% and 39.5% of the variance in total PA and moderate-to-vigorous–intensity PA, respectively. Scale scores were distinguishable across the stages of change. Findings were similar when the Cognitive Behavioral Physical Activity Questionnaire (CBPAQ) was tested in a similar and independent sample of college students (40%; R2 moderate-to-vigorous–intensity PA = .40; p < .001).

Conclusion: The CBPAQ successfully explains and predicts PA behavior in a college population, warranting its incorporation into future studies aiming at understanding and improving on PA behavior in college students.