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Appetite. 2003 Jun;40(3):235-44.

The construct of food involvement in behavioral research: scale development and validation.

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  • 1US Army Natick Research Center, Behavioral Sciences, Kansas Street, Natick, MA 01760, USA.


The construct of involvement has been found to influence brand loyalty, product information search processing, responses to advertising communications, diffusion of innovations, and ultimately, product choice decisions. Traditionally, involvement has been defined as being a characteristic of either a product or of an individual. In the present research, we make an assumption that an individual's 'food involvement' is a somewhat stable characteristic and we hypothesized that involvement with foods would vary between individuals, that individuals who are more highly involved with food would be better able to discriminate between a set of food samples than would less food involved individuals, and that this discrimination would operate both in affective and perceptive relative judgments. Using standard scale construction techniques, we developed a measure of the characteristic of food involvement, based on activities relating to food acquisition, preparation, cooking, eating and disposal. After several iterations, a final 12-item measure was found to have good test-retest reliability and internal consistency within two subscales. A behavioral validation study demonstrated that measures of food involvement were associated with discrimination and hedonic ratings for a range of foods in a laboratory setting. These findings suggest that food involvement, as measured by the Food Involvement Scale, may be an important mediator to consider when undertaking research with food and food habits.

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