Dr. Jessica Samuolis

Participation Type


College and Major available



University Commons

Start Day/Time

4-24-2019 2:00 PM

End Day/Time

4-24-2019 5:00 PM


Apr 24th, 2:00 PM Apr 24th, 5:00 PM

The Association of Co-occurring Health Risk Behaviors and Mental Health in College Students

University Commons

Background: National data indicates that large numbers of college students are engaging in a range of health risk behaviors. These risk behaviors include public health issues, such as binge drinking, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, and low levels of exercise. Studies have linked individual health risk behaviors with mental health symptoms among college students, although more research is needed to understand the association of co-occurring risk behaviors and mental health. Purpose: The purpose of the current study is to identify prevalence rates of four common health risk behaviors, examine the extent to which these health risk behaviors co-occur, and to determine if there is an association between the co-occurrence of multiple risk behaviors and mental health symptoms. Methods: Three hundred sixty-seven college students completed an online version of the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment II that includes items that assess binge drinking, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and mental health. Results: The findings of the current study indicate that a large percentage of students (76%) in the sample reported two or more co-occurring health risk behaviors. Extent of co-occurring risk behaviors significantly predicted mental health symptoms in the past 30 days (Conclusions: The findings point to the need for multi-topic prevention programming that simultaneously addresses multiple health risk behaviors. Additionally, it’s recommended that health promotion efforts related to risk behaviors among college students incorporate mental health as a focus.