An Instrument for Measuring Behavior Change Among Low-Income Youth
Dunham, Angela Wood
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AN ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT FOR MEASURING BEHAVIOR CHANGE AMONG LOW-INCOME YOUTH by Angela Wood Dunham Ruby H. Cox, Chairperson Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise (Abstract) The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) and its youth component, 4-H EFNEP, were established nationwide by the Cooperative Extension Service in 1969. 4-H EFNEP provides nutrition education to low-income youth, aged 5 to 19 years; however, there has been no standard instrument to evaluate behavior change among participants in Virginia or nationwide. A 24-item Youth Food Behavior Checklist (YFBC) was developed based on 13 topics and food-related behaviors taught in 4-H EFNEP. Data were collected on 47 youth enrolled in 4-H EFNEP in the summer of 1998. The YFBC was tested for test-retest reliability and ability of each item and the total instrument to detect change from pre- to post-intervention. The YFBC demonstrated good test-retest reliability with a Pearson Correlation of 0.81. Overall, the YFBC demonstrated sensitivity to detect change in nutrition behaviors, by showing positive change for some items and negative change for other items in all but nine of the participants. The YFBC also appeared to successfully measure behaviors taught in 4-H EFNEP lessons, as questions regarding only two topics did not demonstrate change from pre- to post-intervention. Since not all checklist items showed significant positive change from pre- to post-intervention, the YFBC should be tested again with a larger sample and in situations where the intervention and the administration of the instrument are better controlled. This would increase the power of the study and the credibility of the YFBC as an assessment instrument for wider use in 4-H EFNEP.
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