Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: Confirmatory factor analysis of a questionnaire measuring control in parental feeding practices in mothers of Head Start children Author
Submitted to: Appetite
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2010
Publication Date: 2/1/2011
Citation: Murashima, M., Hoerr, S.L., Hughes, S.O., Kaplowitz, S. 2011. Confirmatory factor analysis of a questionnaire measuring control in parental feeding practices in mothers of Head Start children. Appetite. 56(3):594-601. Interpretive Summary: This study described the development of a questionnaire designed to measure how parents control their children’s eating behaviors. The original focus of the study was to look at aspects of how 1) highly forceful parents are in getting their children to eat, 2) those that are less forceful in their behaviors around child eating, and 3) how parents change the food environment in getting children to eat. Further investigation into the questionnaire’s structure showed that there were seven factors instead of three. The final questionnaire focused on high control (very forceful parenting behaviors), high contingency (using if-then statements such as “if you eat your carrots, then you can go out to play”), child-centered feeding (being gentle in getting children to eat), encouraging healthier foods, discouraging less healthy foods, other mealtime behaviors, and timing of meals, this instrument may contribute to an improved understanding of how parental child feeding behaviors can influence children's food intakes and weight status.
Technical Abstract: Parental control in child feeding has focused primarily on directive types of control, such as pressure to eat and food restriction. This study aimed to develop an instrument to assess other types of directive control and two additional aspects of parental child feeding, non-directive and food environmental control. Mothers of Head Start children (n equals 330) completed a 29-item instrument designed to assess these three feeding constructs and reported their children's food intakes. Researchers measured heights and weights of both mothers and children. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the model with three constructs did not provide an acceptable fit to the data, but an alternative model with seven sub-constructs did (Chi-square equals 330, df equals 228 p less than.05, CFI equals.942, RMSEA equals.037). The latter model included 24 items loading onto one of the following seven factors: high control, high contingency, child-centered feeding, encouraging nutrient-dense foods, discouraging energy-dense foods, mealtime behaviors, and timing of meals. By allowing researchers to quantitatively measure feeding practices in parents with limited resources, this instrument may contribute to an improved understanding of how parental child feeding behaviors can influence children's food intakes and weight status.