Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Dawn Witherspoon

Second Advisor

Dr. Gabriel Ybarra

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt


Being without the financial means to have reliable access to enough food to sustain members of a household is known as Food Insecurity (FI; Gundersen, 2013). Previous research has linked FI to obesity and depression (Adams, Grummer-Strawn, & Chavez, 2003; Bronte-Tinkew, Zaslow, Capps, Horowitz, & Mcnamara, 2007; Huddleston-Casas, Charnigo, & Simmons, 2009; Kim & Frongillo, 2007). Although there have been findings about FI being related to depression and obesity, little research has used African Americans; even less research has used young adolescents as the target population. This study had five aims: 1) Observe the impact of FI on health, 2) Observe the impact of weight status on depression, 3) Observe gender effects, 4) Testing mediation effects of child and caregiver depression, and 5) Observe income effects on FI. There were 228 participants (Mage=13.27) recruited from a large Mid-Atlantic city. Self-administered questionnaires were used to assess psychosocial functioning, and caregivers answered the Two-Item Screening Questionnaire for Food Insecurity to assess FI status. FI was not significantly related to child depression but was related to caregiver depression. There was no relation between FI and weight status. Obese children reported higher levels of depression than normal and overweight children; weight had no relation to caregiver depression. Female children had higher rates of depression, overweightness, and obesity. Poverty was not related to FI or depression in children and caregivers. With more FI research, advances can be made to reduce the negative impact of this issue.