Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Existing research suggests that individuals with erratic schedules (e.g., shift workers) may be at greater risk for weight gain. This may be due, in part, to the inconsistent timing of health behaviors, such as sleep. Little is known, however about the relevance of the consistent timing of health behaviors among other populations, including college students who are risk for weight gain. The current study examined the consistency of three health behaviors (i.e. sleep, eating occurrences, and physical activity) and relations with body weight among first year college students at a large Midwestern university. Daily diary methods were used to collect self-report data on the timing of these health behaviors over a seven day period. The timing of these variables were transformed to calculate several indices of consistency, and are described for the full sample as well as by gender. In addition, three consistency variables were examined using bootstrapping to determine relations to body mass index (BMI) among first year college students, and whether these relations are moderated by gender. Sleep variability in wake time was positively associated with BMI, though no moderation effects were detected. Additionally, significant relations were observed between standard predictors of BMI (e.g., sleep, PA) and consistency variables, such that lower consistency was significantly associated with worsened health behaviors. This suggests that college students may benefit from consistency, such as waking up at a similar times each morning, calling for health education programs within universities to encourage students to maintain consistent sleep schedules.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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