I made a great deal of progress this summer as an Honors Scholar researcher. I collected and analyzed over thirty studies, over forty if the proposal is included, regarding the prevalence of eating disorders in college students conducted in various countries including the United States, Hungary, Iceland, England, Puerto Rico, China, Japan, and Turkey. This was extremely tedious, time-consuming work due to the demographic specificities, but not eating disorder specificities. My goal was to find a multitude of studies regarding each eating disorder that accurately represented Western and Nonwestern countries. Moreover, I also began the historical analysis of the predominant eating disorders – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
During the fall semester, I will be working with Dr. Barrett to complete my Honors Capstone project. I will spend the first few weeks analyzing my systematic review from the summer and using that data to draw conclusions to answer my four research questions from my proposal:
1) Are prevalence rates of eating disorders rising or declining?
2) Are college students in Nonwestern countries as affected by eating disorders as college students in Western countries?
3) Is there a specific eating disorder that is more prevalent than others?
4) Can evaluating the history of eating disorders help draw conclusions on trends in its development?
I predict that yes, evaluating the history of eating disorders will help determine trends in development. The history of eating disorders is critical to understand because we should know why these disorders fostered in our society and others. Knowing this, we should be able to make decisions on how to best prevent these eating disorders in the future. We do not want to repeat our mistakes in the past; however, if eating disorders are strictly biological, research will have to change tactics in order to best prevent eating disorders in the future.
Once these four research questions are thoroughly answered, I will complete my Capstone paper and submit it to Dr. Barrett, my research mentor, for review. After I correct her edits, I will submit my final Capstone paper to the Honors Department to complete my Capstone class.
This experience as a summer researcher was incredibly rewarding, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this amazing program. My work this summer has made me incredibly proud of that fact that I designed my own research project and conducted the work necessary to fulfill my goals. I think every student should pursue the opportunity to research, and I am so glad that I pursued mine.