Amanda Kibbe
                                     Saint Anselm College
                                    Class of 2000

                Self-Report Measures of Caffeine Consumption
               Among Six and Seven Year Old Children



      In general, self-report measures, such as food diaries, are effective tools for gathering information about caffeine

   consumption.  There is, however, a small body of literature investigating the reliability of food diaries and self-report

   measures with children.

      A self-report measure was developed to assess the habits of first grade students.  A picture survey was created that was

   consistent with the developmental abilities of the young reader.  Parents also  responded to a questionnaire that addressed

   issues concerning their child’s eating habits.  It was hypothesized the self-report measures would show children are

   consuming larger amounts of caffeinated beverages than their parents had reported.  It was further hypothesized that most

   first grade students will not know what caffeine is, what drinks it is contained in or the effects it may have on the body.  The

   data obtained from parents hopefully gives criterion validity to the responses given by the students.

     Students reported consuming more caffeinated beverages than their parents indicated.  Accuracies were obtained for the

   student surveys which reveal most students did not report drinking a beverage if they were not familiar with it. One hundred

   percent accuracy was achieved for twelve beverages, ninety-six percent accuracy with eight beverages, and ninety-three

   percent accuracy for four beverages.  Thirty-three percent of students recognized the effect caffeine has on the body, the

  remaining sixty-six percent did not.


     In this study, a survey was constructed to be consistent with the developmental abilities of first grade students. Participants

  were gathered from a rural, upper middle class elementary school in New Hampshire.  Thirty-eight parents and children gave

  consent to participate in this study, however, only the data of twenty-eight students was used comparitively.  Parents were

  first required to fill out a permission form and a survey which asked parents which beverages their children drank on a regular

  basis.  Once consent was given, students filled out a brief survey which was comprised of twenty-four pictures of caffeinated

  and decaffeinated beverages.  The first trial involved students putting an X on beverages they were not familiar with and

  circling beverages they were familiar with.  The second test involved a fairly similar task.  Students were shown a calendar,

  one week was pointed out to students and they were told to try to remember the drinks they had consumed the past week.

  They were to put an X on the beverages they had not consumed and circle the beverages they had.  Following this debriefing

  statements and thank you letters were sent to parents, children, and teachers.  Included in the thank you letter to parents was

  a final survey asking them to circle the beverage brands if they contained caffeine and put an X on those that do not.


      Half of the twenty-eight students reported drinking seven out of fifteen caffeinated beverages which were pictured in the

   survey.  After running a paired samples t-test, results indicate t (27) = 8.469, p= .000.  The means show on average, each

   student has reported drinking 6.5 caffeinated beverages during the week they were surveyed.  Twenty-four variables were

   represented in the first and second test given to students.  One hundred percent accuracy was achieved with twelve out of

   twenty-four beverages picttured.  Ninety-six percent accuracy was found with eight beverages pictured and ninety-three

   percent accuracy was calculated with the remaining four beverages.  The accuracy percentages obtained indicate children are

   not reporting consumption of a beverage if they are not familiar with the beverage.

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