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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017 Sep 16;14(1):126. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0584-x.

Item response modeling: a psychometric assessment of the children's fruit, vegetable, water, and physical activity self-efficacy scales among Chinese children.

Author information

Mass Sports Research Center, China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, China.
HEALTH Research Institute, University of Houston, Houston, TX, 77204, USA.
Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.
Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, Academic and Administration Building, 15, Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China.



This study aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of four self-efficacy scales (i.e., self-efficacy for fruit (FSE), vegetable (VSE), and water (WSE) intakes, and physical activity (PASE)) and to investigate their differences in item functioning across sex, age, and body weight status groups using item response modeling (IRM) and differential item functioning (DIF).


Four self-efficacy scales were administrated to 763 Hong Kong Chinese children (55.2% boys) aged 8-13 years. Classical test theory (CTT) was used to examine the reliability and factorial validity of scales. IRM was conducted and DIF analyses were performed to assess the characteristics of item parameter estimates on the basis of children's sex, age and body weight status.


All self-efficacy scales demonstrated adequate to excellent internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's α: 0.79-0.91). One FSE misfit item and one PASE misfit item were detected. Small DIF were found for all the scale items across children's age groups. Items with medium to large DIF were detected in different sex and body weight status groups, which will require modification. A Wright map revealed that items covered the range of the distribution of participants' self-efficacy for each scale except VSE.


Several self-efficacy scales' items functioned differently by children's sex and body weight status. Additional research is required to modify the four self-efficacy scales to minimize these moderating influences for application.


Differential item functioning; Eating behaviors; Item response modeling; Physical activity; Self-efficacy

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