RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LEADERSHIP AND SELF-ESTEEM CHARACTERISTICS OF PARAPROFESSIONALS AND NUTRITIONAL CHANGE IN A CLIENT SAMPLE
Poffenberger, Linda L.
Longest, James W.
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The study investigates the nature of the relationships between leadership and self-esteem attributes of a population of paraprofessionals and nutritional change based on records from a client sample. Sixty-five nutrition aides serving in the Expanded Food And Nutrition Education Program in Maryland and 397 program families are the subjects of the study. A survey technique was employed to gather leadership and self-esteem data for the aides and socioeconomic and nutritional data from records on a sample of client families. Relationships were hypothesized between leadership and nutritional change and self-esteem and between self-esteem and nutritional change. Non-parametric techniques were used in data analyses. Chi square and gamma coefficient were computed to determine the association between variables. The socioeconomic and nutritional characteristics of the aides and families and the relationship between family nutritional and demographic characteristics were described. Findings reveal a client group whose diets have shown improvement. Client demographic and nutritional characteristics seem independent of one another. There is little relationship between the client nutritional levels and aide characteristics. Hypothesis testing showed the leadership and self-esteem attributes of aides to be generally unrelated to the nutritional change of clients. It is concluded that the variables under study generally bear no relationship to one another. However, the exploratory nature of this study suggests it is an inadequate basis on which to evaluate paraprofessional role performance or the program. Many questions are raised and refinement and re-direction of study techniques are recommended as areas for future study.