Project Title: An Investigation of College Student Illness
Student: Sarah Love
Mentor: Dr. Vicki DiLillo
Individual illness behaviors have been studied extensively in the literature, and the association between parental and child illness behaviors has been documented. However, the relation between specific parental illness behaviors and the illness behaviors of college students has not been examined. The primary purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between parental modeling and reinforcement of illness behaviors in childhood and the current illness behaviors college students display. The study sample was comprised of 103 college students (60% female, 72% white) whose mean age was 19 years 4 months. Participants completed a series of measures including questionnaires addressing recollections of parental illness behaviors and reinforcement of children’s illness behaviors and questionnaires assessing current health status (SF-36) and current illness behaviors related to a number of common symptoms (e.g., headache, insomnia, nausea, fever). Results will focus on college student illness behaviors and the relationship between these behaviors and parental illness behaviors. Implications for college student health behaviors will be discussed.