First Advisor

Marilyn Welsh

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



Food insecurity has been a topic of concern for many years. While many actions have been taken to try to reduce rates of food insecurity, further research should investigate whether certain events may increase likelihood of this experience. Thus far, a large amount of research has been completed on how adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can impact chances of experiencing food insecurity as well as how mental health symptoms can impact these chances. However, there is little research showing that mental health symptoms may moderate the relationship between having ACEs and food insecurity as an adult. A sample of 124 university students were given a measure of childhood maltreatment, a specific ACE, as well as self-report surveys of mental health symptoms and food insecurity. All types of childhood maltreatment were correlated with elevated challenges with mental health. Food insecurity was predicted by current mental health symptoms and childhood maltreatment, with history of physical neglect showing the strongest correlation. Moderation analysis demonstrated that the pathway between a history of physical neglect and current food insecurity was moderated by current anxiety symptoms. That is, food insecurity was only elevated for participants who had a history of physical neglect and current anxiety. These findings suggest that more specific policies should be put into place to help individuals who have ACEs and experience mental health symptoms to decrease their chances of experiencing food insecurity.

Abstract Format





History of physical neglect, food insecurity, mental health




38 pages

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Copyright is held by the author

Included in

Psychology Commons