Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department or School

Health Promotion and Human Performance

Committee Member

Kathleen Mullen Conley

Committee Member

Megan Sterling

Committee Member

Alice Jo Rainville


A qualitative study was used to investigate adolescents’ perceptions of sugar-sweetened beverage taxes using the Theory of Planned Behavior (attitude toward the behavior, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, and behavioral intentions). A secondary purpose was to explore the role of habit in SSB consumption. Three focus groups were conducted at a suburban Detroit middle school with 22 students. Findings suggest that students understand short-and long-term advantages and disadvantages of sugarsweetened beverages and personal and economic impacts of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax, though the economics of a tax was confusing for them. Students stated various factors that would make reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption difficult including habit and environment. Some students reported that they would decrease their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages if 20% taxes were implemented. Sugar- sweetened beverage taxes could be used, in combination with other strategies, to reduce the high level of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in adolescents.