Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Document Type



The objective of these studies was to develop a questionnaire that could measure the psychosocial constructs identified by the Self Determination Theory (SDT) as they relate to adolescents’ food preparation attitudes and their learning environment. The questionnaire included items that measured intrinsic motivation (IM), perceived competence (PC), relatedness, autonomy, and autonomy support. These studies explored the questionnaire’s validity, reliability, and ability to measure construct changes. The Adolescent Motivation to Cook Questionnaire (AMCQ) was developed in the first study to measure high school students’ IM and PC to prepare healthy foods, and their relatedness, autonomy and autonomy support within the classroom. High school students (n = 788) were recruited to complete the questionnaire. After non-respondents were removed, responses from 245 students were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis, which returned a five-factor model (R2 = 65.3%). A confirmatory factor analysis was performed on the remaining 315 responses. There was evidence that the five-factor model demonstrated a better fit (χ2 = 524.97; Root Mean Squared Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = 0.056; Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = 0.93, Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI) = 0.92 Standardized Root-Mean-Square Residual (SRMSR) = 0.04) compared to a single-factor model (χ2 = 2253.58; RMSEA = 0.151; CFI = 0.49, TLI = 0.44 SRMR = 0.18). Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were calculated for each factor: IM: α = 0.94; PC: α = 0.92; autonomy support: α = 0.94; relatedness: α = 0.90; and autonomy: α = 0.85. The AMCQ’s internal consistency, IM’s test-retest reliability, and the instrument’s ability to measure changes in adolescents’ IM and PC as a result of participation in a culinary skills-building program were examined in the second study. The AMCQ was administered to high-school students on two occasions two weeks apart for the test-retest analysis of IM. The nutrition education and culinary skills-building program was offered to high-school students as a school-based or summer program. Intrinsic motivation demonstrated test-retest reliability (r = 0.81). After the program, students reported significant changes from baseline for IM (p < 0.0001) and PC (p < 0.001). Further investigation of the AMCQ needs to be conducted to determine its associations with dietary behavior outcomes.



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Committee Chair

Tuuri, Georgianna

Available for download on Saturday, February 23, 2019

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