Date of Award

8-2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Nutrition

Major Professor

Betsy Haughton

Committee Members

Paula Zemel, Charles Hamilton

Abstract

This study developed and tested a model to determine factors associated with intent to continue working in WIC and to use community-based nutrition skills taught in a continuing education course. Subjects were WIC nutrition professionals participating in a nine month continuing education course about community-based nutrition programming that used a mixed model of distance education strategies. An instrument was developed to assess attitudes about using course skills and intent to remain in WIC and to use course skills. Participants (n=169) were mailed a survey six months following the final course session and followed up with an additional mailing and reminder letter, yielding a 65% response rate. Most were registered dietitians (RD) (61%) with a bachelor's degree (50%) who worked in health departments (65%). Exploratory principal component analysis extracted four components: Self-assurance, WIC Attitudes, Environment and Consequences. The intent to use course skills could be predicted by these components: Self-assurance, Environment and Consequences. These components were not effective in predicting intent to remain employed in WIC. Positive correlations were determined for WIC Attitudes, Environment and Consequences, and the course as an incentive to remain in WIC and change in satisfaction with working in WIC. The resulting model is useful in assessing the impact of continuing education courses on intent to remain in WIC and use course skills. This continuing education program has the potential to increase community-based nutrition competencies; participants who have a supportive environment and are self assured in using the skills are more likely to apply them on the job.

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