Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Jody Nicholson

Second Advisor

Dr. Dan Richard

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. John Kantner


Objective: To examine the existing literature on the relation between contextual and health factors that influence parent intention for child health behavior change, focusing on the importance of a strong theoretical background and measures that match the proposed theory, and to determine the use of intention in the proposed sample of articles.

Method: A preliminary search was conducted, seeking out interventions and programs that target nutrition and/or physical activity in relation to childhood obesity prevention using PsycINFO and MedLine databases. This search totaled 29 studies to be included in the final review.

Results: Ten articles studied intention as a dependent variable, twelve with intention as in independent variable, and seven with intention as a mediating variable. A majority of the articles included a theoretical background (86.2%), while 13.8% of the articles did not include any. Seven overall constructs of interest were established: intention/goal, attitudes, self-efficacy, behavior, social support, knowledge/awareness, and norms. Effect sizes for significant pathways were collected/calculated for the specified variables. Finally, behavioral intention was measured inconsistently in each article, some providing reliability, validity, and/or references for the scales measuring intention, while some did not.

Conclusions: Childhood obesity prevention and intervention literature is inconsistent in the use of theory, strong measurement, and incorporation of other fields of psychology.