Naomi R. Cyr

Date of Award


Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development


Robert Milardo

Second Committee Member

Julie Dellamattera

Third Committee Member

Gary L. Schilmoeller


This exploratory study investigates the factors that influence vegetarianism and offered insight on the impact of dietary choices on one's self-identification and the perceived effects on environmental and animal welfare. Results reveal three major commonalities which are: enjoyment received by contributing positively to the environment and animal welfare by not partaking in commercial animal farming, not missing meat in one's diet, and receiving little to no opposition from family, close friends or others in general. Ethical motivations for a vegetarian diet were so evident that six of the nine participants said they would continue a vegetarian diet even if they experienced resistance from others. Simply not wanting to eat meat for other temporary or less intrinsically meaningful rationale was not a sentiment expressed by any of the participants. This study also provides clues into areas of one's life in terms of self-identity and in that of a social context (e.g. community, family, personal relationships). Implications for further research are discussed.