Development of Food Safety Psychosocial Questionnaires for Young Adults

Journal of Food Science Education 03/2007; 6(2):30 - 37. DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-4329.2007.00021.x

ABSTRACT   Food mishandling is thought to be more acute among young adults; yet little is known about why they may engage in risky food handling behaviors. The purpose of this study was to create valid, reliable instruments for assessing key food safety psychosocial measures. Development of the measures began by examining published studies and behavior change theories to identify the psychosocial factors associated with personal health choices and 3 psychosocial factors were identified: beliefs, locus of control, and self-efficacy. Development of items for the belief questionnaire began by identifying the belief constructs that could provide insight into how food safety behavior change programs should be framed to evoke improved behaviors and drafting items. The locus of control questionnaire was modeled after the Health Locus of Control Questionnaire. Self-efficacy questionnaire development included defining self-efficacy, identifying environmental contexts affecting self-efficacy, and constructing an item pool. The questionnaires were pretested with young adults (n= 180) and refined. A pilot test (n= 77) was conducted to further refine the beliefs and self-efficacy questionnaires. Finally, young adults (n= 4343, mean age 19.9 ± 1.7 SD y) from 21 universities and colleges across the country completed the questionnaires. Analysis of their responses revealed that these questionnaires met or exceeded standards indicative of high-quality psychosocial food safety measures. These questionnaires should be useful in generating baseline data from adults as well as establishing the value of these measures in assessing the effectiveness of food safety interventions.

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    ABSTRACT: Developing tailored and effective food safety education for young adults is critical given their future roles as caregivers likely to be preparing food for populations who may be at greater risk for foodborne disease (FBD). The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between food safety self-reported food-handling behaviors and cognitions of young adults to observed food-handling behaviors. Participants were 153 young adults (mean age 20.74+/-1.30 s.d.) attending a major American university. Each prepared a meal under observation in a controlled laboratory setting, permitted researchers to observe their home kitchen and completed an online survey assessing food safety knowledge, behavior and psychosocial measures. Descriptive statistics were generated for participants' self-reported food-handling behaviors, psychosocial characteristics, knowledge, food preparation observations and home kitchen observations. Determinants of compliance with safe food-handling procedures while preparing a meal and home food storage/rotation practices were identified using backward regression models. Participants engaged in less than half of the recommended safe food-handling practices evaluated and correctly answered only two-thirds of the food safety knowledge items. They reported positive food safety beliefs and high food safety self-efficacy. Self-reported compliance with cross-contamination prevention, disinfection procedures and knowledge of groups at greatest risk for FBD were the best measures for predicting compliance with established safe food-handling practices. Food safety education directed toward young adults should focus on increasing awareness of FBD and knowledge of proper cross-contamination prevention procedures to help promote better compliance with actual safe food handling.
    European journal of clinical nutrition 12/2007; 63(4):572-9. DOI:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602961 · 2.95 Impact Factor
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