Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Jean D. Skinner

Committee Members

Betty Ruth Carruth, Roy E. Beauchene, Jo Lynn Cunningham


To examine the relationships between self-concept and food- and nutrition-related behavior, information was collected from 153 single women ages 18-35. Participants were contacted through their places of employment and represented a variety of occupations. Each participant had an educational level between a high school diploma and a four-year college degree.

Participants completed a questionnaire requesting information about demographic facts, attitudes toward self, attitudes toward the importance of food and nutrition, nutrition knowledge, and health habits. Each participant also completed a three-day food record. Factor analysis of the attitudes toward self, attitudes toward the importance of food and nutrition, and health habits variables yielded 14 meaningful factors. These factors and nutrition knowledge were evaluated for relationships with food selection and nutrient intake.

Participants consumed <75% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for energy, calcium, and iron and >125% of the RDA for protein. Snacks were the source of about 17% of calories. Mean score on the 25-point nutrition knowledge test was 14.8 ± 3.6.

Scores on one of the factors, Super Person (leader, self-confident, and aggressive) were negatively correlated with 5 of the 15 dietary components studied. Scores on Your Own Thing also were negatively correlated with several dietary components. Scores on the self-perception of a Traditional orientation to life factor (help others and work hard) and the self-perception of being Careful in other health areas factor were positively related to dietary patterns. Scores on the attitude that Nutrition Is Important factor and nutrition knowledge also were positively related to food consumption and nutrient intake.

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