Psychosocial Measures Used to Assess the Effectiveness of School-based Nutrition Education Programs: Review and Analysis of Self-report Instruments for Children 8 to 12 Years Old

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Abstract

Objective:

To identify the psychometric properties of evaluation instruments that measure mediators of dietary behaviors in school-aged children.

Design:

Systematic search of scientific databases limited to 1999–2010.

Main Outcome Measures:

Psychometric properties related to development and testing of self-report instruments for children 8–12 years old.

Analysis:

Systematic search of 189 articles and review of 15 instruments (20 associated articles) meeting the inclusion criteria. Search terms used included children, school, nutrition, diet, nutrition education, and evaluation.

Results:

Fourteen studies used a theoretical framework to guide the instrument's development. Knowledge and self-efficacy were the most commonly used psychosocial measures. Twelve instruments focused on specific nutrition-related behaviors. Eight instruments included over 40 items and used age-appropriate response formats. Acceptable reliability properties were most commonly reported for attitude and self-efficacy measures. Although most of the instruments were reviewed by experts (n = 8) and/or pilot-tested (n = 9), only 7 were tested using both rigorous types of validity and with low-income youth.

Conclusions and Implications:

Results from this review suggest that additional research is needed to develop more robust psychosocial measures for dietary behaviors, for low-income youth audiences.

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