Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department/School/Program

Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Tammy J. Stephenson

Abstract

Background: College food insecurity (CFI) is a prevalent social justice and public health issue in the U.S. with the prevalence ranging between 15-59%. Though numerous quantitative studies were first conducted in the past decade, little qualitative research was conducted to assess CFI.

Objective: To explore and deeply understand the contexts of CFI at a land-grant university in Kentucky.

Methods: This qualitative study used a validated food insecurity survey tool and hour-long focus groups that were audio recorded and transcribed. Three theoretical models were combined into an adapted model and utilized for the thematic analysis.

Results: Thirty-three students participated in one of eight different focus groups. Among participants, 72.7% were female, 81.9% were undergraduate students, and 63.6% were food insecure. Access-related themes included transportation, time-related issues, awareness of resources, coping strategies and suggestions for improvements; availability-related themes consisted of city- and campus-wide availability of food choices and coping strategies; utilization-related themes constituted dietary needs and coping strategies; and stability-related themes involved disrupted element(s) of food security and their effects on well-being and academics.

Conclusion: All elements of food security need to be fulfilled to achieve a sustainable food security. For future CFI studies, the use of theoretical framework(s) is recommended.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2019.091

Funding Information

Inclusive and Excellence Grant from the UK Office of Institutional Diversity

AD Astra Grant

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