Development and validation of the Dietetic Confidence Scale for working with clients experiencing psychological issues

Buttenshaw, Kerryn, Ash, Susan, & Shakespeare-Finch, Jane (2016) Development and validation of the Dietetic Confidence Scale for working with clients experiencing psychological issues. Nutrition and Dietetics.

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  • A standardised tool was needed to measure a generalist dietitian’s confidence about working with clients experiencing psychological issues in order to effectively evaluate mental health-related professional development activities. The aim of this study was to develop, pilot and validate a robust instrument that measures a generalist dietitian’s professional confidence for working with clients experiencing psychological issues.


  • The Dietetic Confidence Scale (DCS) was developed. Two cross-sectional samples of practicing dietitians (n = 185; 458) from various settings and locations were recruited. Study 1: principal components analysis (PCA) helped refine scale items and derive a model, which was then validated using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA, Study 2). Cronbach’s alpha estimated scale reliability. Correlations assessed associations between factors.


  • Study 1: A 13-item, two-factor solution accounted for 69.1% of the total variance. Total Cronbach’s α = 0.92. Dietetic confidence was associated with: (i) Confidence using the Nutrition Care Process and (ii) Confidence Advocating for Self care and Client care. Study 2: The CFA supported the proposed scale and model. A Good Fit Index of 0.95 indicated a strong fit. Item-factor correlations ranged from r = 0.50 to 0.91. The final scale showed good reliability (α = 0.93).


  • This is the first self-efficacy scale for dietetic practitioners subjected to PCA and CFA using two independent samples. The DCS is a psychometrically robust instrument with strong internal consistency. It can be used to measure dietetic confidence about working with clients experiencing psychological issues and to highlight areas where additional support or training may be needed. Further validity and reliability testing is needed to enhance scale generalisability and use.

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ID Code: 97617
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: depression; dietitians; factor analysis; mental health; professional development; self-efficacy
DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12294
ISSN: 1446-6368
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NUTRITION AND DIETETICS (111100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Dietitians Association of Australia
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2016 22:59
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2016 03:15

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