Development and Psychometric Testing of the Childhood Obesity Perceptions (COP) Survey Among African American Caregivers: A Tool for Obesity Prevention Program Planning

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Evaluation and Program Planning




Currently, public health practitioners are analyzing the role that caregivers play in childhood obesity efforts. Assessing African American caregiver’s perceptions of childhood obesity in rural communities is an important prevention effort. This article’s objective is to describe the development and psychometric testing of a survey tool to assess childhood obesity perceptions among African American caregivers in a rural setting, which can be used for obesity prevention program development or evaluation. The Childhood Obesity Perceptions (COP) survey was developed to reflect the multidimensional nature of childhood obesity including risk factors, health complications, weight status, built environment, and obesity prevention strategies. A 97-item survey was pretested and piloted with the priority population. After pretesting and piloting, the survey was reduced to 59-items and administered to 135 African American caregivers. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to test how well the survey items represented the number of Social Cognitive Theory constructs. Twenty items were removed from the original 59-item survey and acceptable internal consistency of the six factors (α = 0.70–0.85) was documented for all scales in the final COP instrument. CFA resulted in a less than adequate fit; however, a multivariate Lagrange multiplier test identified modifications to improve the model fit. The COP survey represents a promising approach as a potentially comprehensive assessment for implementation or evaluation of childhood obesity programs.