Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Extension

Major Professor

Cecil E. Carter Jr

Committee Members

Lewis H. Dickson, Reba K. Hendren


The major purpose of this study was to examine selected characteristics of homemakers most likely and least likely to use the Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service as a source for food-nutrition information. The study also examined the Extension contact methods these homemakers used most frequently and least frequently to obtain food-nutrition information and how this was related to their use of the 16 recommended food-nutrition practices.

An underlying purpose of this study was to identify some possible problem areas regarding delivery of the Extension Food-Nutrition educational program among homemakers in Tennessee and to suggest ways which may help to improve County Extension programs.

The population of the study included homemakers from 91 Tennessee counties. Homemakers interviewed were classified as: (1) Home Demonstration Club members, (2) Young Non-Club homemakers, (3) 4-H parents or leaders, (4) Housing Program homemakers, (5) All homemakers, (6) Special Interest homemakers, and (7) Other homemakers. A total of 2818 homemakers participated in the survey. The interview schedule was developed by Food and Nutrition specialists of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service. Data were obtained through group interviews of homemakers and sampling was done on a county basis by Extension Agents.

The data were coded and computations were made by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Computing Center. The Chi Square Test and the analysis of variance F test were used to determine the strength of relationships between variables. F values and x2 values which achieved the .05 probability level were accepted as significant.

Findings from this study indicated that the average respondent was 60 years of age or older and a member of a Home Demonstration Club. The typical respondent had no children living at home, had made at least 16 contacts with the Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service in the previous year, and was using at least 11 of the 16 recommended food-nutrition practices.

Additional findings showed that older homemakers and those who were Home Demonstration Club members were more likely to report at least one Extension contact of any type (i.e., telephone call, office visit. Extension Food-Nutrition meeting, home visit, or general Extension contact) than younger homemakers or homemakers in other audience classifications. Furthermore, data revealed that homemakers who reported making at least one Extension contact of any kind were more likely to use a greater number of the recommended food-nutrition practices than homemakers who reported no contacts with Extension.

Data analysis also revealed that the more appliances homemakers owned, the more sources of food-nutrition information they utilized, the more sources of food-nutrition instruction they used, the more food preservation methods they implemented and the more Extension contacts and Extension meetings they reported attending, the more recommended food nutrition practices they were likely to be using. Further findings indicated that Other homemakers. Special Interest homemakers, those aged 40-49, those with at least one child in the home and those with at least two adults in the home were most likely to use the greatest number of recommended food-nutrition practices.

Other findings indicated that the majority of homemakers had no interest in attending future food-nutrition meetings on listed survey topics (with the exception of meetings concerning weight control) and that 94 percent of the survey respondents had no interest in attending future meetings on food-nutrition topics not listed in the survey.

Implications and recommendations and recommendations for further study are also included.

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