Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Food Science


Donna L. Graham

Committee Member

Donald Johnson

Second Committee Member

George Wardlow


College Students, Emerging Adults, Food Loss, Food Waste, Psychosocial Factors, Theory of Planned Behavior


Food waste is a significant environmental, economic, and social issue, with younger consumers as the most significant contributors. Specific behaviors, like over-purchasing food and misusing date labels, result from a complex interaction between social and psychological factors, which influence food waste among this demographic. The purpose of this study was to identify the psychosocial factors influencing food waste behaviors among college students at the University of Arkansas. Guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior, this study utilized online and face-to-face quantitative surveys, distributed to students enrolled at the University of Arkansas in the spring of 2022. Demographics, attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and behaviors were descriptively described prior to correlational and regression analyses. Results showed that demographic variables were all significantly correlated (p ≤ 0.05) with at least one construct variable. Additionally, the regression model predicting food waste behaviors was only able to explain 15.6% of the variance for food waste-related behaviors among college students at the University of Arkansas. Although the relationships between attitudes, perceived behavioral control and food waste-related behaviors found in this study were significant (p ≤ 0.001), the instrumentation had low internal consistency. Therefore, it is recommended that future researchers develop their instrument by garnering salient beliefs from the targeted demographic prior to survey development. The researcher also suggests partnering with the Razorback Food Recovery Program and Chartwells Dining Team on the University of Arkansas campus to communicate the effects of food waste to raise awareness and positively influence food waste-related behaviors.