The Clustering of Lifestyle Behaviors In U.S. College Students: A Network Approach

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Objective: College student mental health has been decreasing and lifestyle factors may be an important factor in improving mental health. These behaviors may cluster together in complex ways, which could impact the success of lifestyle interventions. Participants: Two samples of U.S. undergraduate college students were drawn from the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (NCHA). The data were collected in Fall of 2019 (N = 30,075) and Spring of 2021 (N = 70,059). Methods: Students responded to various health and well-being related questions. Network models were used to examine how lifestyle behaviors cluster together and additional models contained both lifestyle behaviors and health and well-being outcomes. Results: Lifestyle clustering was found, and some similar patterns were seen across time periods and across levels of psychological distress. Conclusions: Individual lifestyle behaviors exist within a complex lifestyle network, which may need to be accounted for in lifestyle interventions.

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Journal of American College Health

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