First-generation college students are less likely than continuing-generation students to reach graduation. Many colleges are working to bridge this divide, however little is known about the physical health of first-generation students. As physical health is associated with academic success, it is important to understand the beliefs and behaviors underpinning the physical health of first-generation college students. The present study examined the relationship between a specific type of unhealthy belief, compensatory health beliefs (CHBs), and the health behaviors of college students, with a focus on eating practices. Participants were first- and continuing-generation students attending a liberal arts institution who completed an online questionnaire assessing CHBs, eating behaviors, and demographics. Higher levels of unhealthy CHBs predicted less healthy eating in first-generation students, but not continuing-generation students. These findings suggest that first-generation students are uniquely influenced by their health beliefs and should be considered in a holistic approach to encouraging academic success in first-generation students.
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Gallagher, K. M. (2019). What Do We Know About the Health of First-Generation College Students? A First Look at Compensatory Health Beliefs and Behavior. Perspectives In Learning, 18 (1). Retrieved from https://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/pil/vol18/iss1/3