Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Catherine Coccia

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Adriana Campa

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Fatma Huffman

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Dr. Florence George

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Self-regulation, Energy intake, College students, Intuitive eating, Interoception, Mood, Emotional State, Food intake, COMPX, Compensation indices, Calorie compensation, Calorie manipulation, Eating behaviors

Date of Defense



College students are known to be susceptible to weight gain. Transitioning to college brings new stresses and challenges which may lead to unhealthy eating behaviors and weight gain. There are multiple factors which have been attributed to exacerbating determinants for college weight gain including eating in the absence of hunger, lack of self-regulation, and emotional eating. As researchers have become more aware of the disadvantages of dieting and restricted eating, cognitive related behaviors, as a way to control weight, have gained more attention recently.

The aim of this study is to examine the association between internal bodily signals of hunger and satiety, intuitive eating, eating behaviors, mood change, and self-regulation of food intake in college students. In this randomized cross-over study 60 students with the mean age of 19.8 (SD = 1.43), completed the trials successfully. Students were asked to complete 2 visits one week apart. Then, students were asked to watch an emotional movie, drink a preload drink (either low or high calorie) 30 minutes prior to lunch, and then were offered with a buffet style lunch with variety of options. Food intake was measured using plate waste methodology.

The results of the study indicated a great range of self-regulatory abilities in food consumption; however, participants showed a significant difference in energy intake affected by the calorie content of the preload. Self-regulation seemed to be greater in females and students with normal weight. According to our findings, interoception, where individuals are able to detect and respond to their internal bodily cues may be a good predictor for self-regulation. Additionally, lower intuitive eating, higher mood change, and higher restraint and emotional eating habits are significantly correlated with poorer self-regulation in college students.

In conclusion, students who have a higher ability to detect their internal bodily signals of hunger and satiety and respond to them, seem to be more successful in controlling their energy intake and maintaining their healthy weight. Students who experience more intense emotional changes seem to have difficulty controlling their consumption. Additionally, eating intuitively and lower restricted or emotional eating significantly affects self-regulation of food intake.



Previously Published In

Lovan, P., & Coccia, C. (2020). P108 Mood and Eating Behaviors in College Students. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 52(7), S67.



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