Term of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Community Health Behavior and Education (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Andrew Hansen

Committee Member 1

Haresh Rochani

Committee Member 2

Stacy Smallwood


Introduction: College students experience food insecurity (FI) at higher rates than the U.S. adult population. Food insecurity among college students is frequently associated with several sociodemographic factors; limited social support and coping skills; poor mental and physical health; and poor academic outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of FI among students at Fort Valley State University (FVSU), a Historically Black College & University, factors associated with FI, the impact of FI on academic outcomes, and the influence of social support and coping skills on the relationship between FI and academic outcomes.

Methods: A stratified random sample of students enrolled at FVSU completed an anonymous online survey, which assessed food security status and sociodemographic, social support, coping skills, and academic outcomes variables. Univariate logistic regression was computed to determine associations between participant characteristics and FI. Lasso regression analysis was computed to predict FI based on student characteristics. Linear regression analysis was computed to determine if FI predicted academic outcomes. Multiple regression analysis was computed to determine the influence of social support and coping skills on the relationship between FI and academic outcomes.

Results: Among survey respondents, 47.3% were food insecure. Parental level of education was associated with FI, as was household income, campus meal plan, parental financial and food support, adequacy of money to buy food and food selection in stores, total food skills and resources score, and class attendance. The total coping skills score and several coping strategies were associated with FI, including sharing food responsibilities, stretching meals, using coupons, borrowing money to purchase food, etc. The two key predictors of FI were hours worked and the coping skills score. FI did not predict academic outcomes. Social support and coping skills did not influence the relationship between FI and academic outcomes.

Discussion: Students at FVSU experienced a high rate of FI, higher than reported on several other U.S. campuses. Students use limited resources and social supports to alleviate FI; however they do utilize several coping strategies. Several universities are successfully implementing interventions which may be replicated across other U.S. campuses to alleviate FI.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material


Available for download on Sunday, July 14, 2024

Included in

Public Health Commons