Healthy eating behaviors of college students in early adulthood
Scheinfeld, Emily Nicole
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Early adulthood is an important, yet overlooked, transitional period for developing long-term health behavior patterns. During these years, young adults establish independence and adopt health behaviors, such as healthy eating, that persist throughout life. This study applies the integrative model of behavior (IMB) to examine the role of perceived parental influence during childhood (14 years and younger) in developing an individual’s attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control. Two hundred and thirty-nine college students were asked to recall childhood parental influence and indicate current eating behaviors and the components of IMB. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analyses demonstrated that the child’s perception of parent-child communication significantly impacts eating behaviors, the subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control toward healthy eating. Perceived parental control, however, showed little significance, influencing only perceived behavioral control. Further explanation of these results and possible implications of the study are discussed within the work.