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First year students' meal plans and dining hall use: differences by food insecurity, and similarities among roommates

Description

Background In the United States (US), first-year university students typically live on campus and purchase a meal plan. In general, meal plans allow the student a set number of meals

Background In the United States (US), first-year university students typically live on campus and purchase a meal plan. In general, meal plans allow the student a set number of meals per week or semester, or unlimited meals. Understanding how students’ use their meal plan, and barriers and facilitators to meal plan use, may help decrease nutrition-related issues.

Methods First-year students’ meal plan and residence information was provided by a large, public, southwestern university for the 2015-2016 academic year. A subset of students (n=619) self-reported their food security status. Logistic generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were used to determine if meal plan purchase and use were associated with food insecurity. Linear GEEs were used to examine several potential reasons for lower meal plan use. Logistic and Linear GEEs were used to determine similarities in meal plan purchase and use for a total of 599 roommate pairs (n=1186 students), and 557 floormates.

Results Students did not use all of the meals available to them; 7% of students did not use their meal plan for an entire month. After controlling for socioeconomic factors, compared to students on unlimited meal plans, students on the cheapest meal plan were more likely to report food insecurity (OR=2.2, 95% CI=1.2, 4.1). In Fall, 26% of students on unlimited meal plans reported food insecurity. Students on the 180 meals/semester meal plan who used fewer meals were more likely to report food insecurity (OR=0.9, 95% CI=0.8, 1.0); after gender stratification this was only evident for males. Students’ meal plan use was lower if the student worked a job (β=-1.3, 95% CI=-2.3, -0.3) and higher when their roommate used their meal plan frequently (β=0.09, 99% CI=0.04, 0.14). Roommates on the same meal plan (OR=1.56, 99% CI=1.28, 1.89) were more likely to use their meals together.

Discussion This study suggests that determining why students are not using their meal plan may be key to minimizing the prevalence of food insecurity on college campuses, and that strategic roommate assignments may result in students’ using their meal plan more frequently. Students’ meal plan information provides objective insights into students’ university transition.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Testing thresholds in the integrative theory of the division of domestic labor

Description

The division of domestic labor has far-reaching implications for "private" life (e.g. relational satisfaction and conflict) and for "public" paid labor (e.g. time and dedication in the workplace and career

The division of domestic labor has far-reaching implications for "private" life (e.g. relational satisfaction and conflict) and for "public" paid labor (e.g. time and dedication in the workplace and career advancement). Although several theories have been developed and tested, they do not sufficiently explain the consistent findings that women in mixed sex households perform a majority of the domestic labor. Without understanding the causes for differences in task performance, past research encouraging communicative solutions to ameliorate conflict was ineffective in changing task allocation and performance. Therefore, it is necessary to understand theoretical explanations that drive domestic labor behavior to develop effective solutions. The recent integrative theory of the division of domestic labor attempts to explain how individuals interact with household partners to allocate domestic tasks. Recognizing the complexity of the division of domestic labor, the integrative theory considers individual, dyadic, and societal factors that influence task allocation. Because clear differences in task performance have been found in mixed sex households, this study separates sex and gender as distinct variables by considering same-sex roommate relationships, essentially removing sex differences from the living arrangement. Furthermore, this study considers individual threshold levels as described by the integrative theory in order to test the theoretical underpinnings. Specifically, this study is designed to investigate the relationships between individual cleanliness threshold levels and gender, sex, perceptions of satisfaction, equity, and frequency of conflict in same-sex roommate relationships. Results indicate support of the integrative theory of the division of domestic labor. Regarding gender differences, partial support for the theory appeared in that feminine individuals have lower threshold levels than masculine individuals. Regarding sex differences, women possess lower individual threshold levels (i.e. more bothered when a task is undone) compared to men, which likely accounts for why existing research indicates that women spend more time performing domestic tasks. What is more, individuals with higher threshold levels report greater relational satisfaction. Further, individuals whose threshold levels differ from their living partner report lower relational satisfaction and greater conflict frequency. Finally, in terms of equity, both overbenefited and underbenefited individuals experience more conflict than those who feel their relationship is equitable. These results provide theoretical support for the integrative theory of the division of labor. Furthermore, the development and testing of a threshold measure scale can be used practically for future research and for better roommate pairings by universities. In addition, communication scholars, family practitioners and counselors, and universities can apply these theoretically grounded research findings to develop and test strategies to reduce conflict and increase relational satisfaction among roommates and couples.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011