Feeding practices are commonly examined as potentially modifiable determinants of children’s eating behaviours and weight status. Although a variety of questionnaires exist to assess different feeding aspects, many lack thorough reliability and validity testing. The Feeding Practices and Structure Questionnaire (FPSQ) is a tool designed to measure early feeding practices related to non-responsive feeding and structure of the meal environment. Face validity, factorial validity, internal reliability and cross-sectional correlations with children’s eating behaviours have been established in mothers with 2-year-old children. The aim of the present study was to further extend the validity of the FPSQ by examining factorial, construct and predictive validity, and stability.
Participants were from the NOURISH randomised controlled trial which evaluated an intervention with first-time mothers designed to promote protective feeding practices. Maternal feeding practices (FP) and child eating behaviours were assessed when children were aged 2 years and 3.7 years (n = 388). Confirmatory Factor analysis, group differences, predictive relationships, and stability were tested.
The original 9-factor structure was confirmed when children were aged 3.7 ± 0.3 years. Cronbach’s alpha was above the recommended 0.70 cut-off for all factors except Structured Meal Timing, Over Restriction and Distrust in Appetite which were 0.58, 0.67 and 0.66 respectively. Allocated group differences reflected behaviour consistent with intervention content and all feeding practices were stable across both time points (range of r = 0.45-0.70). There was some evidence for the predictive validity of factors with 2 FP showing expected relationships, 2 FP showing expected and unexpected relationships and 5 FP showing no relationship.
Reliability and validity was demonstrated for most subscales of the FPSQ. Future validation is warranted with culturally diverse samples and with fathers and other caregivers. The use of additional outcomes to further explore predictive validity is recommended as well as testing test-retest reliability of the questionnaire.