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Fears of preschool and primary school children with regard to gender, age and cultural identity: cross- cultural study

Oghii, Olga
This study was conducted in attempt to integrate a number of cognitive and motivational factors in healthy eating domain and to develop a structural model that might explain young students’ healthy eating intentions and behaviors. Founded on the theory of planned behavior framework, the current study explored the interrelationships among students’ behavioral beliefs, control beliefs, normative beliefs, and attitudes toward behavior, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control (PBC), intentions, personal norms, self-identity, food consumption habits and sustainability perceptions, and healthy eating behavior. The data were collected from 1780 middle school students through administration of a survey designed to assess constructs regarding healthy eating behavior in a 5-point Likert scale and analyzed utilizing Structural equation modeling (SEM). Goodness of fit statistics revealed that the structural model exhibited an acceptable fit to the data. The proposed model was able to explain 51% of the variance in healthy eating intentions, and 33% of the variance in healthy eating behaviors. Analyses also revealed that healthy eating related behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs were directly related to students’ attitudes toward healthy eating behavior, subjective norms, and PBC respectively. Students’ attitudes toward healthy eating behavior, PBC, personal norms, self-identity, and healthy eating habits and sustainability perceptions, but not subjective norms, associated with students’ healthy eating intentions, which, in turn, led to healthy eating behaviors. Along with intentions, PBC and self-identity were found to be linked to healthy eating behaviors. These results emphasized the need to consider issues of self-identity and personal norm in the TPB.