Project Type

URC Presentation

College or School


Class Year



Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences



Faculty Research Advisor

Jesse Stabile Morrell


College is a unique time period in which students begin to adopt various health promoting behaviors. However, little is known about the relationship between adherence to these health behaviors and students’ perceived stress (PS). This study assesses the relationship between 5 healthy lifestyle factors (HLFs) and PS among undergraduates (ages 18-24). Anthropometric, dietary and lifestyle data were collected from students (n=1450, 18.8±.03 years, 71% female) participating in the ongoing, cross-sectional College Health & Nutrition Assessment Survey between Aug 2012-May 2015. PS was measured via online 10-item questionnaire with scores ranging 0-40. PS scores ranged from 0 to 36 (15.0±.2); females reported higher PS compared to males (15.5±.2 vs 13.7±.3; p<.05). HLFs included healthy BMI (74%), healthy diet (44%), non-smoker (94%), non binge drinker (37%), and physically active (40%). The mean number of HLFs was 2.9±.03. Participants were grouped according to total # of HLFs (0-1, 2, 3 & 4-5); females were more likely than males to display 0-1,2 and 4-5 HLFs (p<.01). Among females, PS scores were negatively correlated with # of HLFs (p<.01); no correlation was observed for males. Group difference between PS scores were also examined by sex. Females with 0-1, 2 and 3 HLFs reported higher PS than those with 4-5 HLFs (16.6±.7, 16.1±.4, 15.6±.3 vs 14.6±.4, p<.01); there were no differences for males. Findings suggest that, among college females, PS may be reduced with greater adherence to HLFs.