A comparison of theory of planned behavior beliefs and healthy eating between couples without children and first-time parents

Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter, Ryna Levy-Milne, Patti Jean Naylor, Danielle Symons Downs, Cecilia Benoit, Darren E.R. Warburton, Chris M. Blanchard, Ryan E. Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the relationship between Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) beliefs and eating behavior, explore which beliefs have the greatest association with eating behavior, and explore differences between adults without children and first-time parents. Design: Longitudinal evaluation via questionnaires and food records at baseline and 6 and 12 months. Participants: Couples without children (n = 72) and first-time parents (n = 100). Main Outcome Measures: Dependent variables: fruit and vegetable consumption and fat consumption. Independent variables: TPB beliefs. Analysis: Pearson correlations between TPB beliefs and eating behavior; exploratory data reduction via linear regression. Results: Control beliefs were associated with eating behavior (. r = .26-.46; P < .05). After controlling for past behavior, control beliefs were associated with eating behavior for first-time parents only. Control beliefs regarding preparation and time had the strongest associations with fruit and vegetable consumption for mothers (β = .26; P < .05) and fathers (β = .38; P < .01). The absence of a ceiling effect for control beliefs suggests room for improvement via intervention. Conclusions and Implications: Interventions guided by TPB should target control beliefs to enhance healthy eating among new parents. Strategies (eg, individual, environmental, policy) to enhance control beliefs regarding healthy eating despite limited time and opportunity for preparation may be particularly valuable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-224.e1
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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