Background: Vegetable intake has been related to lower risk of chronic illnesses in the adult years. The habit of vegetable intake should be established early in life, but many parents of preschoolers report not being able to get their child to eat vegetables. The Model of Goal Directed Behavior (MGDB) has been employed to understand vegetable parenting practices (VPP) to encourage a preschool child's vegetable intake. The Model of Goal Directed Vegetable Parenting Practices (MGDVPP) provides possible determinants and may help explain why parents use effective or ineffective VPP. Scales to measure effective and ineffective vegetable parenting practices have previously been validated. This manuscript presents the psychometric characteristics and factor structures of new scales to measure the constructs in MGDVPP.
Methods: Participants were 307 parents of preschool (i.e. 3 to 5 year old) children, used for both exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA). Data were collected via an internet survey. First, EFA were conducted using the scree plot criterion for factor extraction. Next, CFA assessed the fit of the exploratory derived factors. Then, classical test theory procedures were employed with all scales. Finally, Pearson correlations were calculated between each scale and composite effective and ineffective VPP as a test of scale predictive validity.
Results: Twenty-nine subscales (164 items) within 11 scales were extracted. The number of items per subscale ranged from 2 to 13, with three subscales having 10 or more items and 12 subscales having 4 items or less. Cronbach's alphas varied from 0.13 to 0.92, with 17 being 0.70 or higher. Most alphas <0.70 had only three or four items. Twenty-five of the 29 subscales significantly bivariately correlated with the composite effective or ineffective VPP scales.
Discussion: This was the initial examination of the factor structure and psychometric assessment of MGDVPP scales. Most of the scales displayed acceptable to desirable psychometric characteristics. Research is warranted to add items to those subscales with small numbers of items, test their validity and reliability, and characterize the model's influence on child vegetable consumption.