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Hassle Exposure and Reactivity Links with Obesogenic Health Behaviors

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Objectives: In this study, we explored associations between daily "hassles" (irritating inconveniences) and obesogenic health behaviors of college students. Methods: Students (N = 406, 62% female) completed a survey including the 5-point Brief College Student Hassle Scale which quantifies hassles experienced in the last month in 9 domains (eg, preparing meals, exercising, adequate sleep) and hassle reactivity (ie, upset from hassles), with scores categorized as low (< 2.5), moderate (≥ 2.5 to ≤ 3.5), or high (> 3.5). Results: Females had significantly (p < .05) greater hassles in all domains than males, except for work, personal relationships, and living environment. ANOVA revealed both sexes in the high hassle exposure groups tended to have poorer eating behaviors than the low hassle exposure group. Additionally, high hassle exposure females and males slept less, and had poorer sleep quality, satisfaction with life, and physical and mental health than lower hassle exposure groups. Multiple linear regression analyses examining associations of hassle exposures and hassle reactivity with each health behavior, adjusted for sex and body mass index, revealed all models were statistically significant, except fruit and vegetable intake. Conclusions: Lower hassle during college is associated with healthier weight-related behaviors and better health status. Future nutrition interventions targeting college students may be strengthened by incorporating strategies for effectively coping with daily hassles.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Kaitlyn M. Eck, Research Assistant, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States;, Email: [email protected] 2: Virginia Quick, Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States 3: Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States

Publication date: January 1, 2021

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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