Identifying and Evaluating the Impact of Ecological Factors on the Patterns of Health Risk Behaviors Among Arizona State University Students: A Survey-Based Study
Ecological modeling can be used to analyze health risk behaviors and their relationship to ecological factors, which is useful in determining how social environmental factors influence an individual’s decisions. Environmental interactions shape the way that humans behave throughout the day, either through observation, action, or consequences. Specifically, health risk behaviors can be analyzed in relation to ecological factors. Alcohol drinking among college students has been a long concern and there are many risks associated with these behaviors in this population. Consistent engagement in health risk behaviors as a college student, such as drinking and smoking, can pose a much larger issues later in life and can lead to many different health problems. A research study was conducted in the form of a 27 question survey to determine and evaluate the impact of ecological factors on drinking and smoking behaviors among Arizona State University students. Ecological factors such as demographics, living conditions, contexts of social interactions, and places where students spend most of their time were used to evaluate the relationship between drinking and smoking behaviors and the ecological factors, both on- and off- campus. The sample size of this study is 541 students. Statistical tests were conducted using Excel and RStudio to find relationships between patterns of health risk behaviors and various ecological factors. The data from the survey was analyzed to address three main questions. The first question analyzed drinking behaviors in relation to demographics, specifically gender and race. The second question assessed drinking behaviors with participation in Greek life and clubs on campus. The third question evaluated the relationship between health risk behaviors and students’ living conditions, such as living on or off campus. The results show that while gender does not have a statistically significant influence on drinking behaviors, race does. White individuals are more likely to engage in drinking behaviors and are more at risk than non-whites. Participation in Greek life was shown to be statistically significant in determining health risk behaviors, while involvement in clubs was not. Finally, on campus students are less likely to engage in health risk behaviors than off-campus students.