Psychosocial Determinants of Food Acquisition and Preparation in Low-Income, Urban African American Households

Ja Wanna L. Henry, Angela C.B. Trude, Pamela J. Surkan, Elizabeth Anderson Steeves, Laura C. Hopkins, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Psychosocial factors are important determinants of health behaviors and diet-related outcomes, yet relatively little work has explored their relation to food-purchasing and preparation behaviors in low-income populations. Aim. To evaluate the psychosocial factors associated with food-related behaviors. Methods. Cross-sectional data collected from 465 low-income African American adult caregivers in the baseline evaluation of the B’more Healthy Communities for Kids obesity prevention trial. Questionnaires were used to assess household sociodemographic characteristics, food sources frequently used, and food preparation and food acquisition behaviors. Multiple linear regression models explored the associations between caregiver psychosocial variables and food-related behaviors, controlling for caregivers’ age, sex, household income, household size, and food assistance participation. Results. Caregivers purchased prepared food at carry-outs on average 3.8 times (standard deviation [SD] = 4.6) within 30 days. Less healthy foods were acquired 2 times more frequently than healthier foods (p <.001). Higher food-related behavioral intention and self-efficacy scores were positively associated with healthier food acquisition (β = 0.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.09, 1.4]; β = 0.04; 95% CI [0.02, 0.06]) and negatively associated with frequency of purchasing at prepared food sources (β = −0.4; 95% CI [−0.6, −0.2]; β = −0.5; 95% CI [−0.7, −0.3]), respectively. Higher nutrition knowledge was associated with lower frequency of purchasing food at prepared food venues (β = −0.7; 95% CI: [−1.2, −0.2]). Discussion. Our findings indicate a positive association between psychosocial determinants and healthier food acquisition and food preparation behaviors. Conclusion. Interventions that affect psychosocial factors (i.e., food-related behavioral intentions and self-efficacy) may have the potential to increase healthier food preparation and food-purchasing practices among low-income African American families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)898-907
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • African American
  • food acquisition
  • food preparation
  • intentions
  • nutrition knowledge
  • psychosocial factors
  • race/ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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