Honors Projects


Dietary quality declines during college and is exacerbated by food insecurity (FI) and substance use (SU), leading to negative health and academic consequences. Purposes of this study were to investigate rank importance of food choice motives (FCM), relationships between FI intensity and FCM, and relationships between SU intensity and FCM.

College students aged 18-30 were recruited by Facebook. The USDA 6-item Food Security Survey Module (FSSM); Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT); Extended Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT-E); and Food Choice Motives Questionnaire were used. FCM were analyzed using Friedman and Dunn-Bonferroni tests. Relationships between FCM and FI and FCM and SU were assessed using Pearson correlations.

734 participants (23.98±2.66 years) completed the survey. Significant differences for FCM rank were only observed in SU only, with organic significantly higher than price, familiarity, and local/small-scale production (p<0.05). There were significant positive correlations for FCM importance for all FCM categories and FI intensity in FI only and FCM importance for nearly all substances in SU only (p<0.001); this was less pronounced in FI+SU. There were significant negative correlations for FCM importance and SU degree in FI+SU.

FCM importance increases as FI and SU intensities increase in FI only and SU only, respectively. This is less pronounced in FI+SU. SU may mitigate food obsessive behaviors in FI only; FI may lead to compensatory behaviors when SU is also present. Understanding FCM differences can help colleges and healthcare professionals improve students’ dietary quality and health based on FI and SU statuses.


Public and Allied Health



First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Kershaw

First Advisor Department

Public and Allied Health

Second Advisor

Dr. Bradley Fevrier

Second Advisor Department

Public and Allied Health

Third Advisor

Dr. Carrie Hamady

Third Advisor Department

Public and Allied Health

Publication Date

Spring 4-19-2022