Using Technology to Promote Self-Efficacy for Healthy Eating in Adolescents


  • JoAnn D. Long,

  • Kathleen R. Stevens

  • JoAnn D. Long, RN, PhD, Iota Mu, Associate Professor of Nursing, Lubbock Christian University, TX; Kathleen R. Stevens, RN, EdD, FAAN, Delta Alpha, Professor of Nursing, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX. Correspondence to Dr. Long, Lubbock Christian University, 5601 W. 19th Street, Lubbock, TX 79407. E-mail:


Purpose:To test the effects of a classroom and World Wide Web (WWW) educational intervention on self-efficacy (SE) for healthy eating (HE) and to examine the relationship of the theoretical concepts in a hypothesized model of eating behavior in adolescents.

Design:A quasiexperimental pretest, posttest design was used in a random sample of students in two junior high schools.

Methods:The intervention consisted of a combination of 5 hours of Web-based instruction and 10 hours of classroom curriculum, compared to nutrition education embedded in the standard school curriculum during a 1-month period. Participants completed six questionnaires. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t tests, and Pearson's r correlation coefficient.

Findings and Conclusions:The intervention group had significantly higher scores for SE for fruits and vegetables, SE for lower fat, usual food choices, and dietary knowledge of fat compared to the control group. No difference was found between groups in food consumption. Self-efficacy was significantly associated with dietary knowledge of lower fat, usual food choices, and was inversely associated with lower-fat consumption in the hypothesized model of eating behavior. The intervention was tailored to the social and developmental preferences of adolescents and effectively increased SE for HE. The mediating role of SE in the hypothesized model of adolescent eating behavior warrants further investigation.