Honors Program

Midway Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Meredith K. Ginley,

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Aubrey R. Dueweke,


Although there is a wealth of research knowledge related to risk behavior engagement of the general student population, there is less specifically reported about honors students. To address this gap in research, non-honors and honors students were surveyed to determine possible differences in risk behavior engagement. Students were recruited through the East Tennessee State University psychology subject pool and via direct email messages to an honors student-specific listserv. We hypothesized that honors students would have differences in terms of GPA and number of credit hours, endorse more substance use and have more perceived stress compared to non-honors students. The survey sample was majority non-honors students (90.5%; n = 383), with 9.5% (n = 40) honors undergraduate students. After conducting chi-square tests of independence and independent t-tests we determined that there were no significant differences in substance use, life events, or emotional dysregulation between groups. However, upon analyzing demographic information honors students reported significantly higher GPAs (M = 3.77, SD = 0.32) than non-honors students (M = 3.53, SD = 0.53), t(404) = -2.72, p = .007. Additionally, honors students reported a higher number of credit hours than non-honors students, t(403) =-4.26, p < .001, with non-honors students taking an average of 14.67 (SD = 2.63) credit hours and honors students an average of 16.53 (SD = 1.81) credit hours. No other significant demographic differences were observed. Our findings did not show significant differences within populations, but rather, that honors students likely encounter stress and engage in risk behaviors just as much as non-honors students.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.