Motivations for Health Behaviors

Curtis VanderWaal (Social Work) and Alina Baltazar (Behavioral Science)

Qualitative assessment of faith-based college students' perceptions of motivations for health behaviors

College students participate in numerous health risk behaviors that may negatively impact their relationships with family, friends and God, alter their plans for their future, put them at risk for developing addictions and/or chronic diseases, or even put them at risk for early death.  These risk behaviors include alcohol, tobacco, drug use, and sexual behavior. Research shows, Andrews University students participate in these risk behaviors, but at much lower rates compared to the general college student population. Research has suggested that religiosity and parental support are considered protective factors. The purpose of this study is to investigate students’ perceptions of drug use, sexual activity, and other factors that are associated with health risk behaviors in order to gain a better understanding of why their use rates are so much lower than the general college student population (including a focus on the possible role of faith, family, and mentors). The study will take a qualitative approach using focus groups. This will be done by conducting semi-structured focus group interviews with 5-7 focus groups to evaluate student perceptions and concerns regarding health risk behaviors.  Researchers will utilize QDA Miner software and apply the constant comparative method of analysis. This method is used to compare themes and sub-themes both between and within different research subjects. Findings will be compared and integrated with the quantitative survey results to form a more complete picture of the factors which protect AU students from negative health risk behaviors.

Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education
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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104