Survey development to assess college students’ perceptions of the campus environment

Morgan F. Sowers, Sarah Colby, Geoffrey W. Greene, Mackenzie Pickett, Lisa Franzen-Castle, Melissa D. Olfert, Karla Shelnutt, Onikia Brown, Tanya M. Horacek, Tandalayo Kidd, Kendra K. Kattelmann, Adrienne A. White, Wenjun Zhou, Kristin Riggsbee, Wangcheng Yan, Carol Byrd-Bredbenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: We developed and tested a College Environmental Perceptions Survey (CEPS) to assess college students’ perceptions of the healthfulness of their campus. Methods: CEPS was developed in 3 stages: questionnaire development, validity testing, and reliability testing. Questionnaire development was based on an extensive literature review and input from an expert panel to establish content validity. Face validity was established with the target population using cognitive interviews with 100 college students. Concurrent-criterion validity was established with in-depth interviews (N = 30) of college students compared to surveys completed by the same 30 students. Surveys completed by college students from 8 universities (N = 1147) were used to test internal structure (factor analysis) and internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha). Results: After development and testing, 15 items remained from the original 48 items. A 5-factor solution emerged: physical activity (4 items, a = .635), water (3 items, a = .773), vending (2 items, a = .680), healthy food (2 items, a = .631), and policy (2 items, a = .573). The mean total score for all universities was 62.71 (±11.16) on a 100-point scale. Conclusion: CEPS appears to be a valid and reliable tool for assessing college students’ perceptions of their health-related campus environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-709
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • College
  • Environment
  • Perceptions
  • Survey development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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