Year of Publication


Season of Publication


Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine L. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Fountain

Third Advisor

Dr. Larry G. Daniel

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sharon Wilburn

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


The present study employed a quantitative, non-experimental, multivariate correlational research design to test a hypothesized model examining associative paths of influence between ecological factors and weight status of urban, African-American adolescent females. Anthropometric and self-report survey data of 182 urban, African- American adolescent females were collected during after-school programs, health and physical education classes, and community events in an urban area in northeast Florida. Descriptive analyses were conducted to characterize the study participants based upon their age, study setting, and weight status. A scale reliability analysis was conducted to assess the internal consistency reliability of the sample data using selected measures within the context of the study’s specific population and subsequently guided the structural equation model (SEM) analyses. The SEM path analysis was used to develop two measurement models to control for observed error variance for variables demonstrating poor internal consistency reliability (diet behaviors and nutrition selfefficacy) and a final structural model to test the associative paths of influence between latent (diet behaviors and nutrition self-efficacy) and manifest variables (teacher social support and friend social support) on weight status. The results of the path analysis indicated that both teacher social support and friend social support demonstrated a positive, indirect influence on child weight status through nutrition self-efficacy and diet behaviors following two different and specific paths of influence. Diet behaviors, in turn, demonstrated a positive, direct effect on child weight status. These findings provide clear implications for educational leaders that call for the integration of health behavior change theory into traditional education and leadership practice and actively addressing the childhood obesity epidemic in the school environment by implementing health behavior change strategies at various ecological environmental levels.