Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Kevin M. Fitzpatrick

Committee Member

Anna Zajicek

Second Committee Member

William Schwab

Abstract

This study examined the role of sociodemographic characteristics and various social factors in determining BMI among adolescent high school students. In a sample of 1,493 students at a public high school in Springdale, Arkansas, disparities in body mass index across race/ethnicity, gender, and social class were assessed. This project also examined risk and protective factors in the individual, peer, and family domains as they contributed to weight status outcomes and disparities. Using a quantitative approach, BMI outcomes were examined in a four-step multiple regression model, considering both main effects and interactions of race/ethnicity, class, and gender, as well as risk and protective factors. Statistical analyses revealed a significant impact of age and gender on BMI, and an intersectional effect of gender and social class. Additionally, self-esteem and frequent family meals were identified as significant protective factors related to lower BMI scores.

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