Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
To explore gender differences in the intrinsic motivation and perceived competence to prepare healthy foods among high-school students.
Methods : This cross-sectional study included male and female students in grades 9 through 12 from 2 high schools and 2 community centers in southeast Louisiana. The Adolescent Motivation to Cook Questionnaire was utilized to measure these participants’ intrinsic motivation and perceived competence to prepare healthy foods. A two-way ANOVA was used to analyze least-squared mean differences in intrinsic motivation and perceived competence between genders while controlling for age, ethnicity, and location.
One hundred twenty-four students completed the questionnaire (52.5% male). Baseline intrinsic motivation and perceived competence scores for the total sample were 17.5 + 3.4 and 17.1 + 4.0, respectively. Females reported significantly greater intrinsic motivation to cook compared to males (19.1 vs 17.7; p < 0.05) despite no differences in mean perceived competence between females and males (17.5 vs 16.0). There were no significant differences in intrinsic motivation to cook among grade levels or ethnicities.
Conclusions : Findings from this study indicate that intrinsic motivation to prepare healthy foods is greater in high-school females compared with high-school males despite no discernible differences in perceived competence. Future studies can explore possible explanations for this difference in order to identify strategies that can increase intrinsic motivation to prepare healthy foods in male high-school students.
Funding Sources : Funded in part by Hatch Act Funds # LAB 93846 and the Louisiana 4-H program.