Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-2-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Melinda Valliant

Second Advisor

Kathy Knight

Third Advisor

Anne Bomba

Relational Format



Society is flooded with beliefs and knowledge concerning health, diet, and beauty, which all significantly impact people’s relationships with food, eating, body image, and parental and peer relationships. The present study sought to investigate parental and peer influences on college students’ relationships with food, body image, and intuitive eating behaviors by distributing a self-report survey to a sample of 197 undergraduate students at the University of Mississippi. The survey consisted of six demographic questions regarding age/undergraduate classification, gender, geographical region of hometown, relationship status, childhood living arrangements, and current living arrangement to serve as the independent variables. In addition, the survey contained four questionnaires which measured Body Appreciation (BAS-2), Body Image Flexibility and Self-Assessment (BI-AAQ), Parental and Peer Influences, Intuitive Eating Scale (IES-2) to serve as dependent variables. Data were analyzed using Statistical package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Version 27.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp) software. The results of this study revealed that Southern, single individuals (especially women) who live alone are more likely to have negative attitudes and relationships with food, eating behaviors, and body image and/or be influenced by friends’ and peers’ eating behaviors. Findings suggest that lower levels of intuitive eating characteristics and/or higher levels of negative thoughts and attitudes towards food are predictors of negative feelings, thoughts, and attitudes towards one’s body image and a presence or lack of intimate, close relationships with friends and partners.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.