College-Aged Women: What Influences Eating Disorders?

Faculty Sponsor

Matthew Ringenberg




Social Work

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 3-16-2016


The purpose of this research was to discover what outside influences cause eating disorders among college-age women. Eating disorders such as overeating, anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating have been affecting college-aged women for years. There are a handful of college-age women that have eating disorders factored by the outside influences in their lives. For this study, we looked at outside influences such as peers, relationships, media, and school stress that affect some of the women on campus. To complete this research, we conducted a survey and examined the results we gathered from college-age women from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. The surveys were distributed in residence halls on campus and returned in a closed envelope to ensure confidentiality. Women answered questions about their age eating habits, the media they view, the influence of their peers, their fitness level, and the amount of stress from school. A correlation between the scores determined what outside influences affect college-age women who have eating disorders. This experiment helped give us a better idea of what triggers eating disorders for college-age women.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Maribel Flores, Ashlyn Sorrell, and Sarah Hansen became interested in learning more about the outside sources that might influence college-age women's thoughts on their body image. They all went through a phase during their college experience when they wanted to change their body image. Therefore, they want to become knowledgeable on the outside sources that trigger those thoughts and affect the lives of college-age women. Their future goal is to educate women on possible bad habits that can become eating disorders and ways to prevent outside sources from impacting a healthy lifestyle.

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