Document Type

Honors Thesis




Margaret Killinger, Jeffery Hecker

Committee Members

Robert Glover, Jordan LaBouff, Rebecca Schwartz-Mette

Graduation Year

May 2022

Publication Date

Spring 5-2022


This thesis investigates the differences in perceived stress, perfectionism, and maladaptive eating behaviors among high-achieving honors and non-honors undergraduate students (N=413) at the University of Maine. Students were classified as high-achieving based on a UMaine Honors College c-index ((GPA× 12.5)+(SAT×

.03125)), which uses a student’s GPA and SAT score to assign them a numerical value. All UMaine undergraduate students were invited to participate. Participants completed a survey containing measures that assessed levels of perceived stress, perfectionism, and maladaptive eating behaviors. They were also asked questions about their major, honors status, grade point average, and SAT scores. Results indicated that there were no significant differences between honors and non-honors students on the measure of perceived stress . 73% of high-achieving students displayed high levels of perceived stress, regardless of honors status. Females had significantly higher levels of perceived stress than males. There were no significant differences on measures of perfectionism based on honors status, but there were significant differences between genders. Honors students displayed higher levels on the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) cognitive restraint and uncontrolled eating scales than non-honors students. Non-honors males displayed significantly higher levels on the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDEQ) eating subscales, causing a significant difference between all honors and non-honors high-achievers. Additional research is needed to further investigate these findings, and to distinguish between honors and high-achieving students in respect to perceived stress, perfectionism, and maladaptive eating behaviors.