The objective of this paper is to describe the development and preliminary testing of new scales to assess hunger-coping behaviors in a very low-income population. Very low-income adults (≥. 19 years), caregivers to at least one child (n = 306) completed a survey in a community setting (e.g., libraries). The survey included novel items assessing hunger-coping behaviors (e.g., trade-offs to purchase food, strategies to stretch and obtain food), food insecurity status, and physiological hunger. Internal consistency of hunger-coping scales, one-way ANOVAs, post-hoc analyses, Spearman's correlations among variables. Respondents were 75% female, 51% African American, 34% White, and 15% Hispanic, and 73% earned <$20,000/year. Four scales emerged: hunger-coping trade-offs, financial coping strategies, rationing coping strategies, and physiological adult hunger symptoms. All scales demonstrated acceptable internal consistency (α/KR-20 = 0.70-0.90). Predictive, construct, and content validity were demonstrated by correlations between hunger-coping scales and food insecurity (FI), measured with the USDA 6-item HFSSM (rs = 0.42-0.68, ps < 0.001). Higher levels of hunger-coping trade-offs (F(2,297) = 42.54, p < 0.001), financial coping strategies (F(2,287) = 70.77, p < 0.001), and rationing coping strategies (F(2,284) = 69.19, p < 0.001), corresponded with increasing levels of FI. These preliminary results support use of newly developed hunger-coping scales in a very low-income population and can compliment traditional food security measures to inform hunger prevention policy and programming.
- Food insecurity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health