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Background: Reliable, valid and theoretically consistent measures that assess a parent’s self-efficacy for helping a child with obesity prevention behaviors are lacking.

Objectives: To develop measures of parental self-efficacy for four behaviors: 1) helping their child get at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day, 2) helping one’s child consume five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, 3) limiting sugary drinks to once a week, and 4) limiting consumption of fruit juice to 6 ounces every day.

Methods: Sequential methods of scale development were used. An item pool was generated based on theory and qualitative interviews, and reviewed by content experts. Scales were administered to parents or legal guardians of children 4–10 years old. The item pool was reduced using principal component analysis. Confirmatory factor analysis tested the resulting models in a separate sample.

Subjects: 304 parents, majority were women (88%), low-income (61%) and single parents (61%). Ethnic distribution was 40% Black and 37% white.

Results: All scales had excellent fit indices: Comparative fit index > .98 and chi-squares (Pediatrics 120 Suppl 4:S229-253, 2007) = .85 – 7.82. Alphas and one-week test-retest ICC’s were ≥ .80. Significant correlations between self-efficacy scale scores and their corresponding behaviors ranged from .13-.29 (all p < .03).

Conclusions: We developed four, four-item self-efficacy scales with excellent psychometric properties and construct validity using diverse samples of parents.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.