Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ozier, Amy D.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences


Health education; Nutrition; Public health; Health education; Nutrition--Study and teaching


The purpose of this study was to examine perceived autonomy support of food pantry clients who were provided with tailored nutrition education in two different methods. By allowing some clients to self-select their recipes (CT) while having other clients receive recipes that were selected for them (ET), the researcher hoped to show a greater increase, pre versus post, in perceived autonomy support among the CT clients. As of late, the current literature has lacked in distinguishing the manner by which educational materials have been tailored to specific audiences. Using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as a framework, the researcher theorized that an educational approach that is supportive of one's autonomy is more likely to promote intrinsic motivation and thereby a stronger and longer lasting change.;This experiment was a random-controlled field study using a pretest/posttest design with two experimental groups and a control group. The intervention consisted of measuring perceived autonomy support directly before receiving recipe packets and then again two weeks later. The researcher collected survey data from 125 clients at a food pantry in northern Illinois. Approximately one-third of the participants were allowed to select their own recipes (n=40), another one-third received recipes selected by the research volunteers (n=44), and the final one-third of participants served as a control (n=41).;The results did not show any significant changes in the scores of perceived autonomy support between the CT and ET participants. The results also failed to identify any significant changes among the CT, ET, and control group participants. Finally, the results did not show any significant differences between the CT and ET participants regarding keeping and using the recipes. All of the results were affected by low power in the models due to small sample sizes and high variance in the data. The low power in this study makes it inappropriate to draw any strong conclusions regarding the research questions. Nevertheless, this study identified a need for more reliable, valid, and effective methods of providing nutrition education to food pantry clients. Additionally, the data did reveal several trends and tendencies that should be considered by future researchers when working with this population.


Advisors: Amy Ozier.||Committee members: Beverly Henry; David Walker.


103 pages




Northern Illinois University

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