Parent-reported social support for child's fruit and vegetable intake: validity of measures

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Mar-Apr;44(2):132-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.07.002. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


Objective: To develop and validate measures of parental social support to increase their child's fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption.

Design: Cross-sectional study design.

Setting: School and home.

Participants: Two hundred three parents with at least 1 elementary school-aged child.

Main outcome measure: Parents completed a questionnaire that included instrumental social support scale (ISSPS), emotional social support scale (ESSPS), household FV availability and accessibility index, and demographics.

Analysis: Exploratory factor analysis with promax rotation was conducted to obtain the psychometric properties of ISSPS and ESSPS. Internal consistency and test-retest reliabilities were also assessed.

Results: Factor analysis indicated a 4-factor model for ESSPS: positive encouragement, negative role modeling, discouragement, and an item cluster called reinforcement. Psychometric properties indicated that ISSPS performed best as independent single scales with α = .87. Internal consistency reliabilities were acceptable, and test-retest reliabilities ranged from low to acceptable. Correlations between scales, subscales, and item clusters were significant (P < .05). In addition, ISSPS and the positive encouragement subscale were significantly correlated with household FV availability.

Conclusions and implications: The ISSPS and ESSPS subscales demonstrated good internal consistency reliability and are suitable for impact assessment of an intervention designed to target parents to help their children eat more fruit and vegetables.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Social Support*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Vegetables*