Background: TV and other screen use are common among elementary school aged children with both potential benefits and harms. It is not clear why some parents restrict their children's screen use and others do not. Parent's outcome expectations for allowing their child to watch TV and other screen media, i.e. the perceived 'costs' and 'benefits,' may be influential. Our objective was to develop a measure of Parent's Outcome Expectations for Children's TV Viewing (POETV) and test the psychometrics of the resulting instrument among parents with children 6-12 years old.
Methods: An ethnically diverse sample (n = 311) of parents from Harris County, Texas completed measures for POETV, demographics, and parent and child TV viewing and other screen media use via an internet survey. The sample was randomly split and an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted among the first half of the sample separately for Positive and Negative POETV. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) assessed the fit of the resulting factors with the data in the second half of the sample. Internal reliabilities and Spearman partial correlations (controlling for confounders) of children's TV and other screen use with the resulting POETV factors were calculated for the full sample.
Results: EFA identified two factors for Positive POETV (Parent Centered; Child Centered) and two factors for Negative POETV (TV & Content Exposure; Prevent Other Activities). Follow up CFA confirmed moderate to good psychometric properties for both factor structures with the addition of four correlated errors in the Positive POETV model. Internal reliabilities were appropriate (Cronbach's alpha >0.7). Parent Centered Positive POETV and Child Centered Positive POETV were correlated with children's TV viewing on weekdays (0.14, p < 0.05) and weekends (0.17, p < 0.01) respectively. Both also correlated with other screen media use on weekends (0.20 and 0.21, p < 0.001). Prevent Other Activities Negative POETV was negatively correlated with children's TV viewing on weekdays (-0.16, p < 0.01), weekends (-0.14, p < 0.05) and other screen media on weekends (-0.14, p < 0.05).
Conclusions: The Positive and Negative POETV scales offer a new tool to better define predictors of screen media parenting practices and child screen media use behaviors.