This study investigated the longitudinal associations of health perceptions and behaviors with subsequent academic performance among college students. Multiple health perceptions and behaviors were assessed for 203 college students both at the beginning and end of an academic year. Students’ academic performance was also measured at the end of the year. Separate regression analyses were conducted for men and women to examine changes in health perceptions and behaviors as predictors of yearend performance. Significant gender differences were found for initial health symptoms, perceived stress, exercise, and nutrition. After controlling for prior achievement, increased binge drinking negatively predicted female students’ academic performance and feelings of success; increased tobacco use negatively predicted male students’ performance. Male and female college students appear to differ in the ways that their health changes over an academic year as well as how such changes impact their later academic performance. Implications for devising health promotion programs that specifically target male and female college students’ health risks are discussed.


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pp. 307-320
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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