Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Development and Family Science


Rachel Razza


The current study explores the links between food parenting practices during childhood, specifically restriction and pressure to eat, and fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. It further investigates whether dietary self-efficacy mediates this relationship and how food insecurity moderates the mediated pathway. Drawing upon Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory and Bandura's social cognitive theory, the study hypothesizes that dietary self-efficacy acts as a mediator in the relationship between childhood food parenting practices and current fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. Additionally, it examines the moderating role of food insecurity on this mediated pathway. Participants were recruited through Cornell's SONA system and the Prolific online platform to complete a survey assessing their childhood food parenting experiences, current dietary self-efficacy, fruit and vegetable consumption, and food insecurity status. A total of 278 actively enrolled college students between the ages of 18-29 completed the anonymous online survey. The data were analyzed using bivariate Pearson correlations, ordinary least squares regression analyses, and moderated mediation analyses. The findings reveal that dietary self-efficacy significantly mediates the relationship between food parenting practices, particularly parental restriction, and fruit and vegetable consumption among college students. Contrary to initial hypotheses, pressure to eat did not significantly predict fruit or vegetable consumption nor was it associated with dietary self-efficacy. Also contrary to initial hypotheses, food insecurity was not found to moderate the pathways between dietary self-efficacy and fruit consumption, nor vegetable consumption. This study contributes to the understanding of how early-life food parenting practices influence dietary behaviors among college students, highlighting the importance of dietary self-efficacy. The findings suggest that enhancing dietary self-efficacy could be a key strategy in promoting healthier eating behaviors among college students. However, additional research is needed to explore the complexity of food insecurity among college students and its potential impact on eating behaviors.


Open Access