A survey instrument was used to gather data regarding variables. The instrument was developed by the researchers using Satter's division of responsibility. The survey was sent to a panel of experts and a pilot test was performed to establish validity and reliability. Scales were created to measure parent behavior (8 items), environment (7 items), and child eating habits (10 items). Cronbach's alpha indicated reliability scores of 0.79, 0.78, and 0.70 for parent behavior, environment, and child eating habits, respectively. Surveys were administered at local Head Start programs and were completed on a voluntary basis.
Linear regression analysis indicated moderate to strong correlations between parent behaviors and child eating habits (r = 0.473, p < 0.01) and environment and child eating habits (r = 0.701, p <0.01). Additionally, 51.2% of variance in child eating habits was accounted for by parent behavior and environment. Furthermore, having a higher education level, being married, and being white were positively correlated with implementation of Satter's division of responsibility.
Results suggest a strong relationship between parental aspects of feeding and child eating habits. Satter's division of responsibility provides a method by which parents can establish healthy eating habits in children. Further research is needed to determine long term effects of this feeding style.