Body Weight Trajectories and College Completion: The Role of Non-Cognitive Trait as Sources of Resilience

Yen-hsin Alice Cheng, Academia Sinica

This NLSY97 data were used to explore the patterns of developmental trajectories of body weight in adolescence and how they affect the rates of college completion. The study further explores the role of non-cognitive traits as potential sources of resilience. The findings from finite mixture modeling indicate that six optimal weight trajectories describe the development of weight status in adolescence. A strong weight gradient is also found for rates of college completion. Those in chronic obesity and chronic overweight trajectories have the lowest likelihood of completing college among all groups. Finally, scoring higher on optimism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness increases the odds of obtaining a college degree for youths in different overweight/obesity trajectory groups. The findings add to the obesity research by sketching the developmental trajectories of weight in adolescence and the weight trajectory differentials in college attainment. Non-cognitive traits function as protective factors in understanding educational achievement among overweight youths.

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Presented in Session 30: Overweight and Obesity in Children and Youth