Development and validation of an eating norms inventory. Americans' lay-beliefs about appropriate eating


Authors: Fisher, Robert J.; Dube, Laurette


What do American adults believe about what, where, when, how much, and how often it is appropriate to eat? Such normative beliefs originate from family and friends through socialization processes, but they are also influenced by governments, educational institutions, and businesses. Norms therefore provide an important link between the social environment and individual attitudes and behaviors. This paper reports on five studies that identify, develop, and validate measures of normative beliefs about eating. In study 1 we use an inductive method to identify what American adults believe are appropriate or desirable eating behaviors. Studies 2 and 3 are used to purify and assess the discriminant and nomological validity of the proposed set of 18 unidimensional eating norms. Study 4 assesses predictive validity and finds that acting in a norm-consistent fashion is associated with lower Body Mass Index (BMI), and greater body satisfaction and subjective health. Study 5 assesses the underlying social desirability and perceived healthiness of the norms. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Appetite, October 2011