Mia Hahn

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parham, Ellen S.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences


Eating disorders; College students--Nutrition; Food habits


This study compared the symptoms of disordered eating of students living in two university residence halls with differing foodservice meal plans. One hundred and three subjects from a residence hall using a traditional meal plan and 101 subjects from a residence hall using a flexible meal plan were compared (25% response). Subjects included male and female university students, ages 18 and older from all class years. Subjects were surveyed using the EAT-26 survey. A total score and subscale scores of oral control, dieting, and bulimia and food preoccupation on the EAT-26 were used for the comparison. The results of a standard t test showed a significant difference in the EAT-26 total score between groups using the different residence hall meal plans. ANOVA results indicated a significant main effect of EAT-26 scores by gender and an effect approaching significance by meal plan. Other demographics such as age and year in school were not associated with the score. Subjects indicated in the demographic data, the number of meals eaten per week at the residence hall foodservice. These numbers were similar between the two residence halls. However, in females using the flexible meal plan a correlation between the number of meals eaten per week and the total EAT-26 score was seen. This correlation was not seen in males using the flexible meal plan nor males or females using a traditional board plan. Further study is needed to understand the causes of the differences among meal plans seen in this research. A more detailed research on all the differences of the two residence halls, the types and amounts of foods eaten, social, and environmental factors that determine how students choose residence halls, meal plans, and the effects factors may have on disordered eating symptoms is needed.


Includes bibliographical references.


44 pages




Northern Illinois University

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