Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Harry Freeman

Second Advisor

Dr. Chris Berghoff

Third Advisor

Debra Robertson


Stress, Eating Behavior, College Students, Health Promotion

Subject Categories

Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms


Stress and eating behaviors are known to be correlated in all ages but is primarily associated with young adults. This correlation can be attributed to both biological and social links. In this review, I detail the effects of stress on the brain in a biological manner and the areas of the brain associated with eating behavior. I will also discuss social factors that could contribute to the correlation between stress and eating behavior in college students. Stress is a major factor in optimal digestion and health. A majority of students report experiencing times of stress or feeling overwhelmed throughout their college education. This stress can often cause students to find gratification through overindulging in food and the consumption of food with poor nutritional value. The stress students experience can be through academics, employment, financials, and organization responsibilities. Furthermore, this stress can vary through individual perception and gender. Some students use the consumption of food as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress they experience. Others may become stressed about their food consumption leading to a bidirectional effect between stress and eating. The stress students experience can negatively impact their academic success as well as their mental and physical health. College health promotion programs are vital in educating students on how to manage stress and eating behaviors to promote healthy behavior and wellbeing.



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