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Investigating Food Safety Self-Efficacy in Adolescent Populations Through Survey Research and an Educational Intervention


Goal of the Project: To establish a bseline of adolescents' food safety self-efficacy and investigate ways by which their self-efficacy can be positively impacted.<P>
Objectives: <OL> <LI> Develop a scientifically validated instrument to reliably measure adolescents' food safety self-efficacy. <LI> Use the newly developed food safety self-efficacy instrument to establish a baseline of adolescent self-efficacy. <LI> Determine the impact of a food safety intervention on adolescents' food safety self-efficacy. <LI> Use qualitative data collection methods to further describe the baseline data adn participants' experiences with the food safety intervention. </ol> Expected Outputs: Food safety self-efficacy instrument will be developed. The instrument will be administered to a randomly selected sample, and a baseline of adolescents' food safety self-efficacy established. A food safety intervention will be used to determine its impact on self-efficacy, project results will be disseminated through research articles and conference presentations.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Providing quality food safety education for all consumers is a priority for the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (111.A). Adolescents are a significantly underserved population when it comes to food safety education and need encouragement and guidance in adopting associated healthy changes in behavior. Previous research suggests that high levels of self-efficacy are directly tied to meaningful and long-lasting changes in behavior. Therefore, it is important to thoroughly understand the baseline of adolescents' self-efficacy as it pertains to food safety in order to develop and implement truly effective educational interventions. For the purposes of this project, food safety self-efficacy is defined as the degree to which an adolescent believes he/she has responsibility for and can positively impact the safety of his/her own food. As such, the purpose of this proposal is to establish a baseline of adolescents' food safety self-efficacy (FSSE) and investigate ways by which their self-efficacy can be improved. This proposal establishes four objectives: 1) develop and validate a survey instrument to measure adolescents' FSSE; 2) administer the instrument to a randomly selected sample of adolescents; 3) test the impact of an existing food safety educational intervention on adolescents' FSSE; and 4) use qualitative research methods to provide richer context and understanding of the data collected through Objectives 2 and 3. The successful completion of the objectives outlined in this proposal will result in the development of improved interventions based on targeted self-efficacy approaches that empower adolescents to make meaningful food handling behaviors changes.

<P>APPROACH: The methods for this project are broken into discreet tasks for each objective. Objective 1: Task 1: review current literature for FSSE instruments developed for other audiences Task 2: establish critical constructs that make up adolescents' FSSE and use these to develop the proposed instrument Task 3: conduct field tests to establish validity and reliability of the FSSE instrument Objective 2: Task 1: develop a stratified random sampling method to ensure that results of the baseline survey can be generalized to the larger population of adolescents in the southeastern US Task 2: recruit schools for participation and secure informed consent from parents and students Task 3: administer the FSSE instrument to the selected sample Task 4: analyze data and disseminate results through a peer-reviewed journal and professional conferences Objective 3: Task 1: use an existing, validated educational intervention to investigate ways in which adolescents' food safety self-efficacy can be impacted Task 2: analyze results of pre/post to determine impact of intervention on FSSE and revise the current curriculum to maximally impact students' FSSE Task 3: use well established professional organizations to disseminate the revised Hands On curriculum to educators throughout the US. Objective 4: Task 1: develop and validate a focus group protocol Task 2: identify a sample for the focus groups and secure informed consent Task 3: Administer the focus groups at each school location Task 4: Analyze the data and refine the SE instrument The evaluation of the objectives contained within this proposal will be based on a mixed-methods research design integrating appropriate quantitative and qualitative data collection techniques required for addressing the evaluation study questions listed below. The evaluation team proposes the following evaluation questions: 1) To what extent have the project's stated purpose, goals, and objectives been accomplished 2) What best practices for developing, validating and implementing the use of research-based assessment instruments have been identified from the project activities 3) What best practices have been identified from the use of those instruments to address the food safety self-efficacy of middle school students across implementation sites 4) What challenges in project implementation emerged during the various aspects of the project, and how were they addressed 5) To what extent will key project components likely be sustained after the grant period Data collection methods include the following: 1) Documents of project activities and participation, research reports, and analyses, 2) Interviews of the project director and staff, and participating school personnel and students, 3) Observations/site visits of project events, workshops, training, and meetings, 4) Student Self-Efficacy Data at three time periods: immediately before and after the intervention, and again several weeks after the intervention (3 measures - repeated measures ANOVA design). Deliverables: 1) Analysis of data from documents and project reports 2) Interviews with project stakeholders 3) Annual Evaluation Report

Davidson, Phillip; Draughon, Frances; Richards, Jennifer
University of Tennessee
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