Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


University of Northern Iowa--Students--Health and hygiene; University of Northern Iowa; Allergy--Iowa--Cedar Falls; College students--Health and hygiene--Iowa--Cedar Falls; Allergy; College students--Health and hygiene; Students--Health and hygiene; Iowa--Cedar Falls; Academic theses;


Allergies diseases, comprising of asthma and allergies, in some direct or indirect way affect most American families as more than 40 to 60 million or one in four Americans suffer from allergic diseases. Allergic diseases are a widespread problem that has a great monetary cost to society and a negative impact on the quality of life for those afflicted. This research was based on an analytical cross-sectional study design with a convenience sample of young adults in a college population. The paper based survey consisted of 55 questions asking various questions throughout various periods of life including the topics of living environments, air quality, living conditions, family history, exposure to chemicals, current health status and a food frequency questionnaire. The survey was completed by 228 college students and analyzed using JMP IN. 57% of the respondents indicated having been diagnosed by a health professional or self diagnosed for allergies and/or asthma. The results from this study support other previous findings from other research efforts regarding allergies and asthma. For example, those with allergic diseases tend to have a more negative impact on their quality of life. Of those using city or country water systems, more of these individuals had allergic diseases, especially in comparison to other water systems. Participants exposed to open fires through cooking for longer, consistent periods of time indicated having a higher incidence of allergic diseases. Those having loose carpeting, synthetic quilts, innerspring mattresses and waterbeds also have a greater chance of allergic diseases. The averages would indicate that those with more siblings were less likely to have allergic diseases. However, it would appear that after 5 or more siblings this actually changes and they become more likely at this point to have allergic diseases. This study also showed a link between family members, especially biological parents and grandparents to the child having allergic diseases. Smoking during pregnancy has a significant correlation to the child being born with allergic diseases as well as exposing infants and young children to smoke in their dwellings. In conclusion, these results suggest that environmental and genetic factors continue to both play a role in the onset and incidence of allergic diseases.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services

First Advisor

Catherine Zeman

Second Advisor

Lisa Beltz

Third Advisor

Barton Bergquist


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (202 leaves)



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