Social norms and dietary behaviors among young adults

Jennifer E. Pelletier, Dan J. Graham, Melissa N. Laska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine associations between young adults' dietary behaviors and perceived social norms for healthy eating. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 1000 diverse college students. Associations between perceived behaviors of family, friends, and significant other and participants' dietary behaviors were examined using t-tests and linear regression. Results: Young adults consumed more fast food if they perceived that their family, friends, or significant other did so (p < .003). Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with perceived consumption by family and friends (p < .035). Fruit and vegetable consumption and dinner preparation were associated with perceived behavior of friends only (p < .001). Conclusions: Young adults' dietary behaviors appear to reflect their perceptions of normative behavior, particularly among friends. Copyright (c) PNG Publications. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Dietary behaviors
  • Nutrition
  • Social norms
  • Young adults


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