Shavon Darden

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Nursing


Adult Health

Committee Chair

Gina Maiocco

Committee Co-Chair

Roger Carpenter

Committee Member

Bernardine Lacey

Committee Member

Mary Jane Smith

Committee Member

Laurie Theeke


African American college students are gaining weight at a pace faster than other ethnic groups yet research on this population is lacking. Exploration of freshman weight gain through the cultural lens of an African American student may provide a better understanding of this event. The research question for this study was, "How are the dimensions of technology, culture, kinship, economics, and the experience of stress described by African American students who gained weight during their freshman year in college?." Using Leininger's Cultural Care Theory and Sunrise Model as study frameworks, a qualitative study involving face-to-face interviews was conducted with directed content analysis used to interpret data. The final synthesized themes of this study are: technology is a double edge sword, kinship is a revolving door of relationships, culture is a discordant fit, economics is juggling resources, and stress is a never ending cycle of tension. Leininger's dimensions of technology, kinship, culture, and economics were upheld as useful guides to assess cultural influences of weight gain for this group. Inclusion of stress as a dimension is suggested based on participant reflections. Study results may be applicable in future clinical and educational research focused on weight management for the African American student.