Do Parents Protect Their Children? The Effects of Food Insecurity on Child Mental Health
Qualitative studies suggest that parents often believe that they can protect their children from the effects of food insecurity except in the most severe cases, but research consistently indicates that this may not be the case. Children who are food insecure are more likely to have negative outcomes, like nutritional deficiencies, behavior problems, and lower academic achievement, and interviews with children suggest that they, like their parents, may experience a great deal of stress and worry about their family’s ability to secure a sufficient amount of food. While several studies have indicated a relationship between food insecurity and poor mental health in adults, no wide scale quantitative studies have looked at this relationship among children. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this thesis attempts to fill this gap. Panel fixed effects and ordered logistic regression analysis reveal that food insecurity predicts higher levels of anxiety and depression among children between the ages of 4 and 12 and that this effect is heightened for children suffering from more severe forms of food insecurity. With nearly 20 percent of all children in the United States under the age of 18 experiencing some degree of food insecurity, these results underscore the importance of increasing access to nutritious food while also recognizing and addressing the impact that food insecurity has on the mental health of children.
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Health Systems Innovating to Address Food Insecurity: Analysis of Program Implementation, Evaluation, and the Future Harmsen, Mikaela (Georgetown University, 2020)While individuals have always been able to recognize the influence of social factors on their health, and ability to attain healthcare, the healthcare industry has only recently shifted their attentiveness to the impacts ...