College Transition Initiative

Welcome to the blog of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding’s (CPYU) College Transition Initiative (CTI). This site contains commentary on transitional issues, exploring research, trends and college student culture. For more information visit:

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Location: Elizabethtown, PA, United States

The transition from high school to college is a difficult one, and yet, it is a transition that is often overlooked. This site is to help college bound students, parents, and youth workers stay up to date on the latest research and trends in regards to college transition. Your comments are greatly appreciated. Join the conversation!

Friday, January 06, 2006


In response to my last few posts on body image and eating disorders, two helpful articles were sent my way. The first article is from The Lantern, Ohio State University’s student newspaper, and deals with the relationship between college stress and eating disorders. The second comes from Brown University Psychological Services and is a tool to help diagnose depression.

The article from The Lantern, College Stress Might Cause Eating Disorders, opens with a story from a college student. Her name is Amy, she is currently a junior, and for the article she talked about her freshman year and how she suffered from bulimia nervosa. Here are a few excerpts from the article:

“Amy is now a junior at Ohio State. Amy, who requested her real name not be used, was suffering from bulimia nervosa, an eating disorder that can occur in females and males, but mostly occurs in females. By their first year of college, 4.5 to 18 percent of women and 0.4 percent of men have a history of bulimia, according to the Food and Drug Administration.Amy came to college enthusiastic about her new life. She was excited to make new friends and to just be part of a new environment. She was not worried about bulimia. However, the onset of eating disorders is often associated with a stressful life event, such as leaving home for college.”

“Dr. Lisa Werner, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, has experience with patients that have eating disorders. She agrees that college freshmen, leaving home for the first time, might experience an increase in the risk of developing an eating disorder because of a lifestyle change.Not only is the change in lifestyle a factor, but also the college lifestyle can lead to either anorexia or bulimia. With the increase of homework and pressure, students might find themselves desperate for control over something in their lives, including their weight.”

“With the stresses of a new life in college, residence hall roommates need to be leery of their new friends and suitemates. If a friend is restricting food, exercising excessively or sneaking off to the bathroom after almost every meal, he or she might be suffering from an eating disorder.”

The article from Brown University, Depression: Define it, Defeat it, is also written to help students be mindful of friends’ behavior. From the introduction:

You know that your college years can be complicated and demanding. Deep down, you may be quite sure of who you are, what you want to do, or whether the choices you make from day to day are the best ones for you. Sometimes the many changes and pressures facing you may threaten to overwhelm you. So it is not surprising that from time to time you, or a friend, feel down or discouraged.

But what about those times when one's activity and outlook on life remain low for weeks and begin to affect relationships, or the ability to relax or to be productive? If you, or a friend, are facing a period like this, depression may be the cause. It may help to have a better understanding of depression.”

This useful tool also discusses “myths and facts” associated with depression. For example:

Myth: Young adults don’t suffer from “real” depression.
Fact: Depression can affect people at any stage of life, or of any racial, ethnic, or economic background.

A big thank you for those who sent me articles. Keep them coming!


Blogger Sarah said...

I suffered through an eating disorder that actually got BETTER in college! Sure the girls at Hillsdale were more beautiful that girls I'd ever seen before, but I was getting plenty of male attention.

Also, maybe the difference was that I was really FOCUSED. I was there to study and to learn and really threw myself into it. Being an art major, I really learned what true beauty looked like and found that I looked just like the figure models I was looking for for my sculptures.

Our college had a lot of restrictions on male-female interactions in the dorms, such as visiting hours. I think that this really eased the pressure sexually and the dorms could truly be a refuge to be ourselves. I'd walk around in scrubby clothes and a towel around my head and could really hang loose when I knew that there were no men around.

I also made friends with girls who had healthy body images. It didn't hurt that they were all beautiful, but I realized that we were ALL beautiful. :o)

Also, I went to a very challenging Math and Science center and took college classes while in high school, so the transition wasn't as hard as if I had simply gone from public school to college. Most public schools are way too easy and don't teach kids how to study and when they go off to college it is really shocking and stressful.

just some thoughts...

2:14 PM  
Blogger Derek Melleby said...

Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing your story. And, thanks for "keeping an eye on this blog."


10:22 AM  

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