The activity card sort: A factor analysis

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This study was conducted to examine the utility of the Activity Card Sort (ACS) as a unique assessment tool for measuring adult human occupation and level of activity. Factor analysis was used to determine whether the picture items of the ACS empirically cluster into four categories of human occupations (instrumental activities, low-demand leisure activities, high-demand leisure activities, and social activities), as well as to compare young and elderly people's classifications of activities on the ACS instrument. The study sample consisted of 184 participants who were divided into two groups (53 students and 131 elderly people). Factor analysis revealed five factors for student activities and four factors for elderly people's activities. The analysis of variance revealed that students were involved primarily in leisure activities and secondarily in independent activities of daily living (IADL), whereas elderly people were mostly involved in IADL. Pearson correlations showed the five student categories to be distinctive, whereas substantial overlapping among categories was obtained for elderly people. The use of the ACS as an important research instrument may serve to advance our understanding of the categorization of human occupations among different age groups by identifying underlying dimensions of occupational performance and assessing intensity of involvement in different occupational categories. In addition, this instrument highlights the interaction between occupational performance, person factors (various age and gender groups), and environment factors (e.g., culture).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalOTJR Occupation, Participation and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Activity Card sorting
  • Elderly people
  • Occupation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy


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