Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Jody Isernhagen

Date of this Version


Document Type



Jewett, J. (2007) Exploring and Explaining Weight Changes in First Semester Freshmen College Students: Relationship to Enrollment in a Wellness Course and Other Variables Using a Mixed Method Design. PhD diss, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the supervision of Dr. Jody Isernhagen. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Janice L. Jewett


The purpose of this study was to examine and explain causes of body weight changes in first-semester freshmen. A mixed method design was used to conduct an experimental component, search for statistical relationships among variables, and explore and further explain the findings related to body weight changes.

The quantitative results revealed that there was no significant difference in change in body weight between the experimental and control group. Major findings in the quantitative analysis were that freshman males are gaining more weight than freshman females during their first semester in college. Drinking contributes to this weight gain. In addition, feeling homesick was a factor in weight gain and those who purposefully dieted maintained their weight as compared to those who did not diet during the semester.

The qualitative themes that emerged included the availability and offerings in the dining hall, alcoholic consumption, homesickness, skipping breakfast, transition from high school to college, lack of sleep, freedom, importance of classes, facilities, programs, activities and culture as well as a connection among these themes.