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Abstract

The purpose of this cross-sectional, nonexperimental descriptive design study was to determine college students’ perception of family influence impacting their health and lifestyle. The sample included 120 college students in a faithbased institution and each student completed a Likert-type survey (4-point agreement scale) that investigated their perception of health, and the degree of influence peers and family had on their health. This second data analysis reports correlations between variables and group differences related to health perceptions and behaviours. The strongest correlation is between ‘family demonstration of positive health habits’ and ‘personal health practices being like my families’ (r = 0.671, p < 0.01), a moderate relationship supported by other weaker positive correlations to specific health outcomes. Negative correlations between ‘my friends display more positive health habits than family’ and both ‘family has influenced my idea of health’ and ‘my health practices are similar to my family’ indicate the potential for other contextual factors to effect family impact. While differences relating to health influence and outcomes between groups formed by age, gender, ethnicity, family structure and religion were found, the variable related to most healthy lifestyle transmission elements was ‘My family demonstrates positive health habits’. Recommendations supporting improved societal health are offered, together with suggestions for further research. Group classifications that are fixed but might inform interactions with elements of cohorts are identified, together with group memberships which might be changed to enhance health options. Caution in the generalisation of these findings is advised due to the explained limitations of this study.

Avondale Research Centre

Christian Education Research Centre

Avondale Research Centre

Lifestyle Research Centre

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