Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Robin S. Everhart, Ph.D.


Many college students are in a developmental period in which they are transitioning from pediatric to adult health care. This time period can be challenging for all college students and especially for students with a chronic condition. The current study investigated the association between various health-related factors (health locus of control [HLOC], health literacy, health self-efficacy, and health-related quality of life [HRQOL]) and health behaviors in college students, as well as the moderating effect of having a chronic condition on those associations. These health behaviors were further operationalized as healthy lifestyle behaviors (preventative and wellness behaviors, dietary behaviors, physical activity) and risky behaviors (substance use and risky sexual behaviors). A total of 393 undergraduate students (66.1% female, 24.8% White, 26% chronic condition) completed electronic questionnaire packets. Findings suggested HLOC, health literacy, and HRQOL were significant predictors of engagement in healthy lifestyle and risky behaviors. Chronic condition status moderated a number of associations between HLOC, health literacy, health self-efficacy and both healthy lifestyle behaviors and risky behaviors. Based on these findings, researchers and practitioners should focus on improving and managing these health-related factors, especially among college students with chronic conditions, in order to help students achieve better health outcomes.


© Duc-Thi Jeremy Barsell

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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission