Attitudes toward Food Insecurity in the United States

Carley Ward, Geoffrey M Maruyama, Lara Jessen, Wei Song, Lori Kratchmer, Rob Zeaske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


According to a 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey, 12.3% of households face food insecurity (FI)—the economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Given the pervasiveness of the problem, there is surprisingly little research examining how the general population perceives FI. Is FI expected in all societies? Is it a societal disgrace for individuals in the United States to go hungry? When it occurs, who is responsible? This research drew from existing surveys and practitioner expertise to develop a comprehensive instrument to assess attitudes toward FI. Data were collected in two studies to test a multidimensional model developed through examination and categorization of FI-related items. We examined dimensionality of attitudes through exploratory (Study 1, N = 503) and then confirmatory (Study 2, N = 510) factor analysis of representative samples of Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) participants. Seven dimensions were identified and related to reported contributions to food organizations and demographic characteristics (e.g., gender, age, and political orientation). Our findings help understanding of attitudes toward FI and can provide antipoverty organizations with information to shape policy, challenge inaccurate perceptions, and develop approaches to address FI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-424
Number of pages25
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2018

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© 2018 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


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