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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3346.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 2

Abstract #100182

Weight perceptions, dieting behaviors, and perceived satisfaction with life among university students

Scott Pun, BS, Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies, Miami University, 106 Phillips Hall, Miami University, OH 45056, (513) 529-2700, punsm@muohio.edu and Keith Zullig, MSPH, PhD, Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies, Miami University (Ohio), 121 Phillips Hall, Oxford, OH 45056.

Prior research suggests individuals with decreased levels of life satisfaction are at higher risk for widened spectrum of both psychological and social problems such as depression, anxiety and poor social interactions. Disordered eating has also been linked to a variety of psychological factors (e.g., stress, low self-esteem, perfectionism) and is considered to be a common occurrence on college campuses. Furthermore, the prevalence of eating disorders in both young men and women has risen in recent years. Therefore, the purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the unknown relationships among perceived life satisfaction, perceptions of body weight, and dieting behaviors among a randomly selected sample of university students in the mid-western U.S. (N=522). The Brief Multidimensional Students' Life Satisfaction Scale (BMSLSS), recently determined to be reliable and valid among college student populations, served as the dependent variable. Multiple logistic regression analyses and multivariate models constructed separately (via SAS), adjusting for gender, were utilized for this study. Results indicated perceptions of underweight and extreme worry over weight were significantly associated with dissatisfaction with life for both males and females (p<.01). In addition, vomiting (past 30 days), perceptions of overweight, binge eating behavior, extreme worry over binge eating behavior, and engaging in binge eating behavior for more than one year were significantly related to dissatisfaction with life for females (p<.01). Measures of life satisfaction as a component of comprehensive assessments of college student weight management and healthy eating behaviors in clinical, fieldwork, research, and program-evaluation efforts should be considered.

Learning Objectives: Learning Objectives