Usefulness of psychosocial theory variables in explaining fat-related dietary behavior in Chinese Americans: Association with degree of acculturation

Doreen Liou, Isobel R. Contento

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: To determine the usefulness of variables from psychosocial models of health behavior in explaining fat-related dietary behavior among a sample of Chinese Americans. Design: A survey questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of Chinese Americans and analyzed for descriptive statistics and relationships among variables. Subjects/Settings: Participants were 600 healthy individuals, ranging from 25 to 70 years of age, living in New York City. Variables Measured: Demographic factors, degree of acculturation, food preferences, and 13 social psychological scales derived from the Theory of Planned Behavior, the Healthy Belief Model, and Social Cognitive Theory. Dependent measures assessed were intention to reduce dietary fat and behaviors related to the selection of reduced-fat diets. Statistical Analyses: Descriptive statistics, Pearsons' correlation coefficients, t-tests, one-way analyses of variance, and multiple regression analyses were used. Results: Attitude, overall health concern, and self-efficacy accounted for 58% of the variance in behavioral intention for the entire sample. Attitude, perceived barriers, and self-efficacy accounted for 19% of the variance in the prediction of dietary fat reduction behaviors. In general, a gradient was seen in the increased predictiveness of each regression model by degree of acculturation of the immigrants to American culture: predictiveness (R2) for behavior ranged from 15% for the least to 34% for the most acculturated. Acculturation was significantly related to declines in the influence of habit and of social norms.These effects were not seen by length of residency. Implications: Nutrition educators should assess the degree of acculturation of groups with whom they work and recognize that the degree of acculturation impacts the relative importance of various psychosocial variables in fat reduction behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-331
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Chinese Americans
  • Dietary fat
  • Psychosocial theory


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