Gastroparesis (GP) is a clinical disorder recognized by measured delayed gastric emptying without mechanical obstruction, in addition to symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chronic abdominal pain, heartburn, early satiety upon eating a regular-sized meal, and exaggerated postprandial fullness. While GP is considered a clinically rare disorder, there is much suspicion that a much larger number of patients experience GP-like symptoms without an official diagnosis. Furthermore, little work has been done to identify the causes and exacerbations of this gastrointestinal (GI) distress in the young adult population. This study's primary goal was to establish a relationship between modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors and overall GI distress at a large university campus. Utilizing an anonymous online-based survey, risk factors (Physical, psychological, and behavioral), participant demographics, levels of perceived stress, and GI symptoms were measured from 232 participants used in our analysis. Data analysis showed several significant correlations with higher GI distress: 1) being a graduate student, 2) having a higher heart rate, 3) participating in binge drinking, and 4) having higher perceived stress levels. This study is one of the first to assess multifactorial risk factors and find significant relationships within the young adult population. These results suggest that students experiencing higher levels of perceived stress may be suffering from more debilitating GI symptoms, which supports further research into methods for mediating stress amongst the student population.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Webster, Danielle


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health Professions and Sciences


Health Sciences

Degree Program

Pre-Clinical Health Sciences



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date