A Study of the Relationship between University Students’ Food Neophobia and Their Tendencies towards Orthorexia Nervosa

Creative Commons License

Basaran A., Ozbek Y.

Behavioral Sciences, vol.13, no.12, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/bs13120958
  • Journal Name: Behavioral Sciences
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Linguistic Bibliography, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: eating behavior, food neophobia, orthorexia, university student
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Food neophobia, known as an avoidance of the consumption of unknown foods, can negatively impact nutritional quality. In orthorexia nervosa, there is an excessive mental effort to consume healthy food. Individuals exhibiting symptoms of food neophobia and orthorexia nervosa may experience food restrictions. This study aimed to assess food neophobia levels and orthorexia nervosa tendencies among university students, investigate the potential association between the two constructs, and explore the effect of the demographic characteristics of the participants on the variables. This is a descriptive cross-sectional study. The study sample consisted of 609 students enrolled at Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University. The data were collected through Google Forms using a sociodemographic information form, the Food Neophobia Scale, and the ORTO-11 scale. Ethics committee approval and institutional permission were obtained for the study. Of the students participating in the survey, 71.9% were female, 14.6% were classified as neophobic, and 47.1% had orthorexia nervosa symptoms. The mean scores from the Food Neophobia Scale (39.41 ± 9.23) and the ORTO-11 scale (27.43 ± 5.35) were in the normal range. Food neophobia was significantly higher among those who did not consume alcohol. Orthorexia nervosa symptoms were significantly more common among married people. In the correlation analysis, no significant relationship was found between age, food neophobia, and orthorexia nervosa. It can be said that food neophobia in this study is similar to in other studies conducted on university students. In addition, about half of the participants had symptoms of orthorexia nervosa. This result is higher compared to other studies conducted with university students. The findings of this study indicate that the participants care about the healthfulness of food.