Confirmatory factor analysis of a questionnaire measuring control in parental feeding practices in mothers of Head Start children

Appetite. 2011 Jun;56(3):594-601. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.01.031. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


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=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=330, df=228 p<.05, CFI=.942, RMSEA=.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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Eating / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / physiology
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*