Review History

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  • The initial submission of this article was received on September 1st, 2016 and was peer-reviewed by 2 reviewers and the Academic Editor.
  • The Academic Editor made their initial decision on October 28th, 2016.
  • The first revision was submitted on March 7th, 2017 and was reviewed by 1 reviewer and the Academic Editor.
  • The article was Accepted by the Academic Editor on March 28th, 2017.

Version 0.2 (accepted)

· Mar 28, 2017 · Academic Editor


Thank you for your close attention to the reviewers' comments. Congratulations on your work!

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

The article meets the required standards.

Experimental design

Te article meets the required standards.

Validity of the findings

The article meets the required standards.

Additional comments

I'd like to thank the authors for their clear and detailed reponse to my initial review. I am entirely satisfied that the authors have resolved the issues raised by the review, and am therefore happy to recommend that the article be published in its present form.

Version 0.1 (original submission)

· Oct 28, 2016 · Academic Editor

Major Revisions

I had the pleasure of having two reviewers who have done excellent reviews of your manuscript. I concur with their points that they raise below and would ask you to respond to each point.

One important point is with regard to the significance levels. p>.05 would not be statistically significant and should be reported as such. This will have implications for your results and discussion.

Secondly, the manuscript makes a very cursory remark to the theoretical considerations. I would have expected to see that much earlier on. I'm surprised not to see a theoretical framework. Please justify this in the introduction.

Thirdly, please justify why you concentrated on those <2 years post-retirement. It seems rather arbitrary.

Reviewer 1 ·

Basic reporting

Overall, the paper is easy to read and included relevant information about the broader field of knowledge to put the study into context. There are some instances where clarity could be improved and justification is required (see further comments in the general comments box). The authors should correct the following (very) minor errors:
• Line 60 – unnecessary capitalisation in this line
• Line 80 – change ‘persons’ to ‘individuals’
• Line 90, 103 and 408 – not all of the studies cited were focus group studies - please check
• Line 96 – I think the word ‘factors’ would be better than ‘motives’
• Line 174 – can you add a reference for the IPAQ long scales.
• Line 239 – change ‘solve’ to ‘answer’
• Line 281-283 - I think you should remove these sentences as this has already been stated in the method
• Line 333 – change ‘no’ to ‘not’
• Line 359 – factors ‘were’
• Line 402 – double bracket, one needs to be removed
• Line 404 – previous studies ‘have shown’
• Line 410 – remove etcetera
• Line 447 – change ‘furthermore’ to ‘however’

Experimental design

This paper describes original research which will contribute to the evidence base around physical activity and sedentary behaviour in retirement. The research question has been clearly defined, is relevant and meaningful. All appropriate data was provided in supplemental files.
Overall, methods are well described. Further information could be provided about some of the concepts measured. In particular, brief definitions of concepts like land use mix/access and street network connectivity may be helpful for readers (like me) who may be unfamiliar with these specific concepts.
At times the authors could provide more details about how the study findings contributes to filling the knowledge gap (see further comments in the general comments box).

Validity of the findings

The conclusions are connected to the original research question investigated. However, some conclusions are based on marginally significant results. I would prefer to see conclusions that are supported by the significant predictors found in this study (see further comments in the general comments box).

Additional comments

I am delighted to review this paper which will be of interest to a wide audience and has important implications for the development of future interventions targeting retirement.
In my opinion there are three aspects of the paper which need to be improved: (1) general clarity and justification (2) discussion section (3) conclusions.
1. The authors should consider adding further information to address aspects of the paper which lack of clarity or appropriate justification.
a) It would be good to see the rationale for including individuals who had retired for >1 month but less than 2 years. Similarly, it is not clear to me why you chose to analyse the two year period at follow-up when 5 year data were available. Could you add information to justify 2 year post-retirement being considered ‘early retirement’ (line 2 etc.)
b) You stated that quantitative evidence is needed in addition to what is known from the qualitative evidence base. Could you expand a little to justify why quantitative support is so desirable?
c) How was ‘main occupation’ (line 144) defined? If someone reduced their working time from full time to part time in their main occupation would they be eligible? I think this is important because contemporary retirement patterns include a significant amount of people who gradually reduce their working hours, and these people will not be represented in the study if they were not eligible (and if this is the case, perhaps it should be mentioned as a limitation of the study).
d) It is unclear why you used predictors of PA/sedentary behaviour identified in previous studies using adolescents. Can you provide justification? The psychological factors determining PA/SB in these young people and older adult population groups may be very different.
e) Can you provide the rationale for your cut off of including bivariate significant relationships which were p=<0.15?
f) Can you give an example of being not aesthetically pleasing? Does this mean no green space, or industrial buildings etc. (line 400)?

2. Discussion section
a) I think there is too much focus on marginal results. I would prefer the discussion section to emphasise the significant findings and place less priority on the marginal results (see comments below).
b) I would like to see a bit more information about how the findings fit into the existing literature. In particular, a bit more detail about how the results compare to the findings from some of the studies cited in 406 or also in references below. Similarly, I would like to see the results interpreted in line with the qualitative evidence. At the moment there is little discussion about this and reference to some concepts (e.g. financial constraints) which weren’t measured (or perhaps were, but aren’t highlighted enough in the paper). It may be useful to tidy this up a bit and compare only the concepts that were measured both in your study and the qualitative evidence base that you cited and comment on whether your study findings provide support or not.

van Stralen, M. M., De Vries, H., Mudde, A. N., Bolman, C., & Lechner, L. (2009). Determinants of initiation and maintenance of physical activity among older adults: a literature review. Health Psychology Review, 3(2), 147-207. doi:10.1080/17437190903229462.

Chastin, S. F., Buck, C., Freiberger, E., Murphy, M., Brug, J., Cardon, G., . . . consortium, D. (2015). Systematic literature review of determinants of sedentary behaviour in older adults: a DEDIPAC study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 12, 127. doi:10.1186/s12966-015-0292-3.

c) You mention habit strength and automatic processes in the conclusion for the first time and it is not discussed at any point in the paper so is a bit of a surprise. It would be good to refer to the evidence that habit/automatic processes are important for PA/SB in the discussion. Similarly, there is no reference to the home environment being an important factor until the conclusion. What do you mean by home environment? Could you mention this in the discussion with some examples of aspects of the home environment which have been found to be important in other research
d) You state that theoretical frameworks are lacking (line 375) and this comes out of the blue. I think this is an extremely important point to make and I would like to see more elaboration about the state of the theoretical understanding in this area. For example, have studies taken a theoretical approach to try and understand this area?
e) Can you make it clearer why the findings are opposite to expected (line 419)?
f) It is not clear to me how your results ‘confirm’ that the PA questions were not suitable for testing sedentary behaviour – can you clarify? Since physical activity and sedentary behaviour are not the inverse of each other I can imagine this is the case but not sure how your findings have led you to conclude that. If not based on your findings perhaps you could tone this down a bit.
g) I would like to see implications and recommendations for future research in a separate paragraph. For example, the recommendation to combine with objective measurements of PA (line 451), ‘future studies should include sedentary-specific predictors to further unravel the determinants of changes in car use, screen time and other sedentary behaviors’ (line 451), ‘Consequently, more studies focusing on other sedentary behavior-specific correlates are needed’ (line 428), ‘Future research should elucidate this issue by including questions that focus more specifically on sedentary behaviors in order to find out whether including such factors can increase the explained variance’ (line 376), etc. Also, some further elaboration would be helpful e.g. what are the implications of the finding that residential density is important for PA? How would we intervene?
h) Near the end of your paper you state that interventions focusing on individual and physical environment could be more effective (line 462-463) – this is quite a broad statement and your findings seem to suggest that only a few individual/physical environmental factors are important so you might want to make this sentence more specific.

3. Conclusions
a) You abstract concludes that the lack of moderating effects means that all could receive the intervention (i.e. one size fits all) and this is stated again in 437 when you say that it is presumed generic interventions would be effective. However, this is contradicted in other parts of the paper, for example, when you say that the moderating effects of interventions suggest ‘distinct approaches’ are needed to optimally reach high/low educated individuals in future interventions (line 360) – can you clarify? If you are saying that distinct approaches are required can you also elaborate on what the distinct approaches might be?
b) As mentioned above, I would rather see less focus on the marginally significant results within conclusions presented in the abstract and the rest of the paper.
c) Of the many variables you tested 2/4 significant predictors were for the sedentary behaviours. You state that no firm conclusions can be made about sedentary behaviour and I wonder why the results for physical activity seem to hold more weight. Can you revisit this and justify why the conclusions about physical activity are strong but not the sedentary behaviour?
d) If space permits, I think the abstract would benefit from having some reference to the implications of the findings and how it contributes to the evidence base.

Reviewer 2 ·

Basic reporting

I believe the article to be generally well written and feel it conforms to the journal standards. There are a few points in the manuscript where clearer language and terminology would be of benefit to the reader. These points have been highlighted for the consideration of the authors.

Experimental design

In general the paper is of a good standard and thus meets the standards of the journal regarding methodological design. There is however a key point regarding the reporting of results at the 0.10 level of significance that the authors must provide more information on. This is highlighted in my comments to the authors.

Validity of the findings

The findings are generally adequately presented with useful and sustained reflection provided on the implications of the work.

Additional comments

This is an interesting, timely and generally well-conceived study that I feel will be suitable for publication following minor corrections.

The key issue I would like to see addressed pertains to the reporting of findings at the 0.10 level. I feel that as it is, the one sentence given (Line 270) explaining the decision to report these results to be insufficient. I feel more needs to be added here to make the reader explicitly aware of the issues (and implications) around the reporting of these results and to see some evidence of the authors considering whether or not it is actually useful to present them. For example, are there other studies with similar sample sizes that have also reported results at this level of significance?

In addition, I feel the section on limitations at the end of the paper should also explicitly reflect on the inclusion of the results at the 0.10 level.

A few other minor issues:

• Line 102 is poorly worded and could be improved. For example, “In addition to the qualitative evidence, quantitative studies are also needed to confirm the…”

• Line 114/115. This sentence is constructed in a manner that confused me somewhat. Should it be: “Because changes in PA and sedentary behaviors during early retirement have been shown to be dependent on gender and variations in socio-economic status…”

• Typo – line 164…should be ‘led’ not ‘lead’

• Line 239 – Should this be to ‘address’ the research question rather than ‘solve’ the research question?

• Line 195 – I feel the variables ‘vision on retirement’ and ‘vision on old age’ could be better titled in the paper. Although the authors clearly present what these variables comprise (Lines 201-205) I do think that it would be better to title them as ‘perceptions of retirement’ and ‘perceptions of old age’ or ‘views of retirement’ and ‘views of old age’? As they are currently presented I found myself at later points in the paper having to go back and just check that they are not about eyesight!

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