• Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences
Research Article

Self-Efficacy and Dietary Behaviors in University Students With High and Low Perceived Stress

Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences [2020; 2(1):19-28]
Received: 08 January 2020, Accepted: 05 December 2020, Published: 12 September 2020

Objective: Given the rise in noncommunicable chronic diseases, understanding the relationship between stress, self-efficacy, and dietary behaviors in young adults may have implications for preventing negative health outcomes later in life that stem from poor eating habits. The current study examined whether stress levels and self-efficacy may be associated with unhealthy eating habits in young adults.
Methods: A cross-sectional online survey with undergraduate university students (N=1,170) was conducted using a valid and reliable questionnaire assessing demographics, perceived stress (PS), self-efficacy (SE), added sugar (AS), and diet quality (DQ). It was hypothesized that PS and SE would be associated with AS and DQ.
Results: Overall, the regressions, ANOVAs, and ANCOVAs all agreed that there were main effects for perceived stress and self-efficacy. Those who have low PS have healthier AS and DQ scores as compared to high PS individuals. Those with higher SE have healthier scores on both measures as well compared to the low SE group.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that self-efficacy and perceived stress levels relate to added sugar and diet quality intake in young adults, and that increasing self-efficacy and reducing stress in young adults may lead to reductions in added sugar consumption and poor diet quality, thus leading to healthier eating habits.

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