Date of Graduation

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Committee Member

Anna Zajicek

Second Committee Member

Shauna Morimoto

Keywords

Adolecent Health, Child Health, Food Insecurity, Public Health, Sociology of Health, Youth

Abstract

This study examined the relationships between food insecurity, risks, and resources among adolescents attending a large high school in Northwest Arkansas. In a sample of 1,493 students, in which the majority are Hispanic/Latino and receive free and reduced lunch, food insecurity relationships were first assessed controlling for a number of sociodemographic variables, such as ethnicity, gender, and social class. In addition, a number of risk and resource variables were identified at four ecological levels: individual, family, school/peer, and community. These risks and resources were analyzed using a three-step ordinal regression model in order to examine how sociodemographic controls, risks, and resources were related to food insecurity. Statistical analyses revealed that depression, household structure, student risk, and neighborhood risk all were positively associated with food insecurity, controlling for sociodemographic variables. In addition, self-esteem, eating meals with family, and peer social capital were all significantly associated with lower levels of food insecurity, but did not immediately impact the “effects” of the risk variables. Collectively, these findings tell an important story about adolescent food insecurity and the role that social and psychological circumstances play in determining varying levels of food insecurity. This study highlights that children and adolescents can be reliable respondents and spokespersons of their own experiences with food insecurity.

Share

COinS