Graduation Year

2019

Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Psychology

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Robin Parent, Jenn Kane

Faculty Mentor Department

Women's and Gender Studies Certificate

Faculty Reader(s)

Robin Parent

Keywords

eating behaviors, psychology, college environment, disordered eating, gender

Subject Categories

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Food Studies | Health Psychology | Other Nutrition | Social Psychology

Abstract

This study explores the possibility of college environment as a contributing factor in the development of late-onset disordered eating in young adults. By focusing on the turbulent transitionary phase into independence and adulthood of one’s freshman year, a college setting is analyzed using natural observation in a college cafeteria during meal times, and free-response questionnaire with 46 participants to determine if mandatory meal plans, new social settings, and the other stressors of this new environment plays a role in one’s shifting eating behaviors, and whether they appear to be atypical, preventable, or maladaptive. Overall, while there were certain correlations between changed eating patterns and moving away from home with typical parental influence on food choices, from the data collected, it was primarily speculations of any real causal relationship between a college environment and disordered eating developments. A model of development is proposed that is worth further investigation, in which a progression of overindulgence one’s freshman year, weight stigmas, following compensatory measures may contribute to later disordered eating, as restrictive dietary habits can often act as a predecessor to other disordered eating patterns, especially in young women

Honors College Research Project

Yes

GLI Capstone Project

no

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