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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Vegetable parenting practices scale: Item response modeling analyses

Author
item Chen, Tzu - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item O'connor, Teresia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Hughes, Sheryl - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Beltran, Alicia - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Baranowski, Janice - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Diep, Cassandra - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Baranowski, Tom - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Appetite
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2015
Publication Date: 8/1/2015
Citation: Chen, T.A., O'Connor, T., Hughes, S., Beltran, A., Baranowski, J., Diep, C., Baranowski, T. 2015. Vegetable parenting practices scale: Item response modeling analyses. Appetite. 91:190-199.

Interpretive Summary: Self report measures of diet have many sources of error. In addition, food parenting practices (i.e. what parents do to encourage their child to eat or not eat certain foods) may vary by age of the child, family income, and other characteristics. Item Response Modeling (IRM), a procedure for analyzing the errors in self reported statements, can assess differences in the use of such statements by other characteristics, e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status. This paper applies IRM to two sets of parenting practices items: effective and ineffective, obtained from parents of preschool children. In addition to several types of errors, IRM detected that the parenting statements were used differently by age of the child and ethnic group. Future research will need to determine the extent to which these differences are due to what parents believe is developmentally appropriate, or to some aspect of how they think about and report these items, and appropriate changes made in the items. These existing parenting practices scales need to be used cautiously in light of these IRM documented problems.

Technical Abstract: Our objective was to evaluate the psychometric properties of a vegetable parenting practices scale using multidimensional polytomous item response modeling which enables assessing item fit to latent variables and the distributional characteristics of the items in comparison to the respondents. We also tested for differences in the ways item function (called differential item functioning) across child's gender, ethnicity, age, and household income groups. Parents of 3-5 year old children completed a self-reported vegetable parenting practices scale online. Vegetable parenting practices consisted of 14 effective vegetable parenting practices and 12 ineffective vegetable parenting practices items, each with three subscales (responsiveness, structure, and control). Multidimensional polytomous item response modeling was conducted separately on effective vegetable parenting practices and ineffective vegetable parenting practices. One effective vegetable parenting practice item did not fit the model well in the full sample or across demographic groups, and another was a misfit in differential item functioning analyses across child's gender. Significant differential item functioning was detected across children's age and ethnicity groups, and more among effective vegetable parenting practices than ineffective vegetable parenting practices items. Wright maps showed items only covered parts of the latent trait distribution. The harder- and easier-to-respond ends of the construct were not covered by items for effective vegetable parenting practices and ineffective vegetable parenting practices, respectively. Several effective vegetable parenting practices and ineffective vegetable parenting practices scale items functioned differently on the basis of child's demographic characteristics; therefore, researchers should use these vegetable parenting practices scales with caution. Item response modeling should be incorporated in analyses of parenting practice questionnaires to better assess differences across demographic characteristics.