Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne E. Mazzeo


The transition to college has been identified as a critical period for weight gain; however, only a limited number of studies have examined this phenomenon. The college setting may promote weight gain, thus the purpose of the present study was to quantify changes in BMI in first year students during their first semester of college and to understand factors associated with weight gain, such as eating behaviors, physical activity, and body shape ideals. Significant changes in weight were detected between Time 1 and 2 with a mean weight gain of 1.24 kg. The majority of participants (73.1 %) gained weight and the percentage of participants categorized as overweight increased from 23.1 % to 3 1.4%. Regression models did not reveal significant predictors of weight gain. Paired t-tests revealed significant decreases in disinhibition, binge eating, and number of days of physical activity over the semester. Participants who gained weight had greater body image dissatisfaction than those who did not gain weight. These findings underscore the need for more studies on factors related to weight gain and prevention efforts in the college population.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons