Title: "The Role of Self-Efficacy in Understanding Treatment Effects in the Food for Life Program." Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) annual meeting, Montreal Canada, April 2009.
Abstract: Personal efficacy to perform behaviors often predicts future behavior. However, its role in treatment response is not often tested. This study examined whether baseline, behavior-specific self-efficacy for 3 dietary behaviors: percent calories from fat, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and dietary fiber moderated the relations between intervention status and changes in consumption. The Food for Life Program (FFL), a six-month intervention designed to reduce % calories from fat, increase dietary fiber intake and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables recruited 2,066 women from Maryland WIC Centers. Results from the FFL program support intervention success in improving three targeted dietary behaviors compared to the usual care group (Havas, et al., 2003). The current study used multiple regressions to examine the relations between self-efficacy and the targeted dietary behaviors, as well as, whether self-efficacy moderated the treatment effects reported by Havas, et al. (2003). Consistent with the findings reported by Havas, et al. (2003), significant main effects of treatment were found for all three dietary behaviors (p<.01). Additionally, significant main effects of behavior-specific self-efficacy were found for changes in dietary fiber intake and fruit and vegetable consumption (p<.01), but not for change in % calories from fat. There were no significant interactions between intervention assignment and behavior-specific self-efficacy. Results indicate that treatment was effective in improving dietary behaviors and self-efficacy was an important predictor of dietary change, however self-efficacy did not moderate treatment effects for any of the three target behaviors. Although the intervention was not differentially effective based on baseline self-efficacy, the importance of self-efficacy in predicting dietary change suggests that attention should be paid to assessing self-efficacy at the beginning of treatment.