Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Katherine Novak


Objective: The author investigated how individual and perceived concern about the Freshman 15 influences weight-control behaviors among collegc freshmen, if peers have an effect on an individuals' concern about the Freshman 15, and whether students exercise, diet, or exhibit disorderly eating habits. Gender differences were also examined. It was hypothesized that (1) higher levels of concern about the Freshman 15 will result in greater weight control measures (2) peers influence individuals' use of weight-control measures and individuals who perceive their peers as concerned about the Freshman 15 will be more likely to engage in weight-control behaviors (3) that although females have higher levels of individual and perceived peer concern overall, both individual and perceived peer concern about the Freshman 15 will operate the same way for males and females and (4) women are more likely to diet whereas men are more likely to exercise to control their weight.

Method: Participants were 145 students from Butler University who completed a survey which included measures of individual concern, perceived peer concern, and two scales measuring weight-control behavior: Ousley's scale to assess dieting and exercise behaviors and the EAT 26 self-test for disorderly eating.

Results: Higher levels of individual concern predicted greater use of all three forms of weight-control behaviors: exercise, dieting, and disorderly eating. Individual concern was found to be correlated with perceived peer concern and weight-control behavior was correlated with the former two variables. While perceived peer concern did not influence disorderly eating and exercise for women or any weight-control measures for men, it was discovered that those involved in Greek life are more likely to be influenced by their peers if they are female dieters or males that exercise. Perceived peer concern was also statistically significant and positively correlated with dieting among females. Individual and perceived peer concern were found to operate differently for males and females. Individual concern predicts dieting for both males and females, disorderly eating for males, and exercise for females.