Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 168

P06-148 - College Student Perception Of Campus Stress Resources, Effects Of Stress On Eating, And Self-Reported Mental Health

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective: To investigate students' perceptions of their campus stress resources, effects of stress on eating, and mental health.


Methods: A survey was distributed to students at a large, Appalachian university via email. Students were asked about their perceptions of campus resources for stress, mental health, and support using a 5-point Likert Scale, and mental health symptoms over the past 30 days. Response frequencies and Kruskal-Wallis tests were conducted to determine the significance of a relationship between perceptions and mental health symptoms.


Results: Responses (n=1956) found that 49% of students agreed that there are stress resources on campus, 52% agreed that there are stress management programs available, and 38% agreed that it is difficult to eat healthy because of stress at school. 45% agreed that they are able to make a mental health appointment if needed and 51% agreed that there is a support system available. In the past 30 days, the mean number of poor mental health days was 12.1 ± 9.37, the number of days feeling depressed was 9.7 ± 8.8, and the mean number of days feeling anxious was 14.1± 10.02. Analysis showed a significant difference in responses based on increased number of poor mental days and perceptions of stress resources (p=.0018), stress management programs (p=.0103), mental health appointment access (p=<.0001), presence of a support system (p=.002), and difficulty eating healthy due to stress (p=<.0001). There was a significant difference between number of days feeling depressed and responses to perceptions of stress resources (p=<.0001), stress management programs (p=.0061), mental health appointment access (p=<.0001), presence of a support system (p=<.0001), and difficulty eating healthy due to stress (p=<.0001). The number of days feeling anxious and responses to perceptions varied significantly in perceptions of stress resources (p=<.0001), stress management programs (p=<.0001), mental health appointment access (p=<.0001), presence of a support system (p=<.0001), and difficulty of eating healthy due to stress (p=<.0001).


Conclusion: There is a significant relationship between student perceptions of stress resources, effects of stress on eating, and mental health. Interventions targeting stress management may improve mental health and healthy eating.




Funding Source:

West Virginia University Experimental Station Hatch WVA00641


CoAuthors: Rebecca Hagedorn – West Virginia University; Melissa Olfert, DrPH, RDN – West Virginia University

Rachel A. Wattick

West Virginia University
Morgantown, West Virginia