Studente se persepsie en belewenis van eetverwante selfregulering
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Students at tertiary institutions often deal with academic and social challenges and stress associated with it by practising unhealthy eating habits that can eventually lead to an increase in eating-related problems and even clinical eating disorders. The results of American studies indicate that the majority of students display no intention of considering healthier eating objectives. Schnoll and Zimmerman (2001:1006) point out that healthy eating behaviour depends on effective self-regulation, and for this, setting clear and feasible objectives is essential. In this study, self-regulation is conceptualised as a systematic behavioural process that entails setting personal goals and a process to reach those goals (Maes & Karoly, 2005:268), or phrased differently, as the ability to change one's own behaviour in accordance with ideals, values and social expectations with a view to reach long-term objectives (Baumeister, Vohs & Tice, 2007:351). In spite of the importance of eating-related self-regulation for students, surprisingly little research is available on this subject. A further void is the lack of research that focuses on the perception people have regarding the self-regulation of their own eating behaviour, their subjective experience thereof, and the fact that current interventions mostly focus on students who are already experiencing eating disorders, who are overweight or who run the risk of developing such problems. Hence the aim of this study was to explore the perception and experience of students with regard to eating-related selfregulation. An availability sample of 38 undergraduate university students, with an average age of 22.3 years and studying at the North-West University's Potchefstroom Campus acted as participants. Themes and sub-themes were identified in advance from a variety of selfregulating theories and enclosed as items in a semi-structured questionnaire. The data were analysed by means of directed thematic content analysis. Results indicate that the majority of students set clear, concrete and constructive eatingrelated goals, but that only approximately one third of the participants are highly successful with regard to self-effectiveness. Students mainly apply appropriate executing, monitoring and adaptation strategies. Potential risks include that more students rather maintain a low than high level of mindfulness, that stumbling blocks do occur that hold the potential of impeding the reaching of the objectives, and that only one fifth of the participants display adaptive flexibility. The majority therefore is not optimally equipped in terms of the adaptation phase of self-regulation. The conclusions drawn from the afore-mentioned is that eating-related self-regulation is a complex process that poses several challenges to each student and that eatingrelated objectives often are not reached. It was indicated that the lack in their selfregulation needs to be addressed in order to prevent the development of unhealthy lifestyles and even clinical eating disorders. However, this group of students has several resources to its disposal which, accompanied by further guidance, can contribute to establishing and maintaining healthy, optimal eating patterns. In conclusion it was recommended that further research be done on larger, randomly selected groups and that intervention programmes especially focus on promoting better self-effectiveness, on a higher level of mindfulness and on developing a larger amount of adaptable flexibility regarding eating-related behaviour.
- Health Sciences