Under COVID-19 social distancing regulations, this study investigated how individuals varied their dietary patterns and their vegetarian identity during this time. Some vegetarianism literature suggests that social interactions can be more influential on a vegetarian individual's eating behavior than external forces or individual willpower (Cherry 2006). Meanwhile, food environment literature suggests the environment plays the most significant role in an individual's dietary behavior (Zimmerman & Connor 1989; Shannon 2013; Pettygrove & Ghose 2016); however to date, such literature has not yet been applied to individuals identifying as vegetarians. Interviewed were University of Central Florida students and alumni who identify as vegetarian. Information about their feelings regarding their identity and eschewing of animal products were collected using an online survey following the Unified Model of Vegetarian Identity (UMVI) and Dietarian Identity Questionnaire (DIQ) (Rosenfeld & Burrow 2017; 2018). All individuals expressed they felt their designated place of quarantine was a positive environment. Nine out of ten reported an increase in cooking from spending so much time with "access to the kitchen" with the majority of the participants reporting that during their period of social distancing they felt their identity had either been "fortified" during this time, "gotten better" or had not changed at all. This study adds new knowledge to the vegetarian literature about key variables affecting dietary behavior associated with one's vegetarian identity and corresponding dietary patterns during a period of radical lifestyle changes and regulated social interaction. This project is unique due to the nature of the unprecedented time period of COVID-19 social distancing across Florida and the nation, limited restaurant options due to nation-wide closures, limited menus, and supply shortages due to statewide orders to remain indoors as much as possible (Executive Order No. 20-71, 2020).
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Lorenzo, Elise, "How Vegetarian Students' Dietary Patterns Are Affected During Covid-19 Social Distancing" (2020). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 246.
Restricted to the UCF community until August 2025; it will then be open access.