Please enter verification code
Research Report: Experience of Food Insecurity and Its Effect on the Psychosocial Well-Being of School-Aged Children in Damot Gale Woreda, South Ethiopia
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Volume 3, Issue 5, October 2014, Pages: 158-170
Received: Oct. 13, 2014; Accepted: Oct. 24, 2014; Published: Oct. 30, 2014
Views 3910      Downloads 276
Mesfin Balgu Tito, Department of Psychology, Arba Minich University, Arba Minich, Ethiopia
Habtamu Wondimu, Department of Psychology, Arba Minich University, Arba Minich, Ethiopia
Article Tools
Follow on us
This study aimed to describe the psychosocial experience of children living in food insecure family. Among the 328 total population, one hundered (100) are involved in the study. These participants were only involved in the quantitative data gathering process. Additionally, 28 participants are involved in the semi-structured interview and focus group discussion. Mixed approaches (quantitative and qualitative methods) has employed in the study. Descriptive statistics like percentage, mean and standard deviation; and independent t – test used to analyze the quantitative data, whereas summarization and direct quoting used to analyze the qualitative data. Children in food insecure households have common problems like - aggressive behaviors, misconduct behaviors (i.e. cheating, stealing and disrespecting the elders), depression, feeling shame and poor interpersonal relationship. Additionally, children experience behaviors like - gambling, robbery, murder or homicide, school absenteeism, hot emotionality, inferiority, insomnia, stigma and discrimination. The older children (13 – 18) are more experience depressive behavioral and interpersonal relationship problems than the younger children (6-12) are. Maternal depression, parenting style (autocratic parenting style), parental carelessness to fulfill children’s basic needs, children’s current dressing styles, health conditions; tasks, duties and responsibilities that are beyond the children’s capacity are the basic reasons that push children to experience the psychological and social problems. Beside the physical consequences of food insecurity, it has great effect on the children’s psychological and social wellbeing. Working in poverty reduction rather than heavily relying on food aids, using inclusive methods of research, using inclusive psychosocial care and support strategies, establishing community and institution based care and support and expert based intervention on the children’s misconduct behaviors are suggested direction to overcome children’s problems.
Food Insecurity, School Aged Children, Psychosocial Well Being and Food Insecure Households
To cite this article
Mesfin Balgu Tito, Habtamu Wondimu, Research Report: Experience of Food Insecurity and Its Effect on the Psychosocial Well-Being of School-Aged Children in Damot Gale Woreda, South Ethiopia, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. Vol. 3, No. 5, 2014, pp. 158-170. doi: 10.11648/j.pbs.20140305.13
Ahmed, Z. S. and Kingsolver, B. (2005). Poverty, family stress and parenting.
Ahuja, Y. (2005). A critical review on the Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of human behavioral development
Alaimo, K., Olson, C. M. and Frongillo, E. A. (2001). Food in sufficiency and American school-aged children’s cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development. Journal of the American academy of pediatrics, 108 (44), 1022 – 1049.
Amato, P. R. and Zcho, J. (1992). Rural poverty, urban poverty, and psychological well-being. The sociological quarterly journal, 33(2), 20 – 45.
Anderson, L. C., Ayalew Tegegn, Fusil Tessema, Galea, S. and Hadbey, C. (2010). Food insecurity, childhood illness and maternal emotional distress in Ethiopian.
Andrews, B., Qian, M. and Valentine, J. D. (2002). Predicting depressive symptoms with a new measure of shame: The experience of shame scale. British Journal of clinical psychology, 41, 29- 42.
Ashiabi, G . (2005). Household food insecurity and children’s school engagement. Journal of children and poverty, 11:1, 3-17.
Bacos F.F, Ramirez, R. M., Dorado, J. B., Velasco, R. E. and Barba, C. (2008). The nutritional Status of Street children why some are nutritionally well off or worst-off.
Bechaye Tesfaye (2011). Rural household Food Insecurity Situation analysis: the case of Boricha Woreda, Sidama Zone.
Belsky, D. B., Moffitt, T. E., Arseneault, L. A., Melchior, M. and Caspi, A. (2010). Context and sequelae of food insecurity in children’s development. American Journal of Epidemiology, 72:809–818.
Braveman, P., Sadegh-Nobari, T. and Egerter, S. (2003). Early childhood experiences: laying the foundation for health across a life time.
Bronte – Tinkew, J., Zaslow, M., Capps, R., Horowitz, A. and McNamara, M. (2008). Food insecurity works through depression, parenting, and infant feeding to influence overweight and health in Toddlers. The journal of nutrition, 38(9), 214 -252.
Brown, S. L. (2004). Family Structure, family processes, and adolescent delinquency: the absence of parental absence versus parental gender. Journal of research in crime and delinquency, 41 (1), 19 – 32.
Casey, P., Goolsby, S., Berkowitz, C., Frank, D., Gook, J., Cutts, D., Black, M. M., Zaldivar, N., Levenson, S., Heeren, T. and Meyers, A. (2004). Maternal depression, changing public assistance, food security, and child health status. Journal of American academy of Pediatrics, 113 (298), 46 – 69.
Chant, S. (2006). Poverty Begins at home? Questioning some (mis) conceptions about children, poverty and privation in female-headed households. London school of economics.
Cherry, K. (2004). Social learning theory: An Overview of Bandura's Social learning theory.
Child trands data Bank (2011). Food insecurity indicators on children and youth.
Chilton, M., Chyatte, M. and Breaux, J. (2007). The negative effects of poverty and food insecurity on
child development. Indian Journal of Medical research, 126, 68 – 91.
Collins, L. (2006). The Impacts of food insecurity on Women’s mental health. How it negatively affects children’s health and development. Journal of the Association for research on mothering, 56, 574 – 588.
Conger, H. D. (2005). The effects of poverty and economic hardship across generations.
Connel, C. L., LiLofton, K. L., Yadrick, K. and Rehnedr, T. A. (2005). Children’s experiences of food insecurity can assist in understanding its effects on their well-being. Journal of nutrition 135: 1683–1690.
Connell, C. L., Nord, M., Lofton, K. L. and Yadrick, K. (2004). Food security of older children can be assessed using a standardized survey instrument. The journal of nutrition, 134, 43 -76
Cook, J. and Jeng, K. (2009). Child food insecurity: the economic impact on our nation. A report on the impact of food insecurity and hunger on child health, growth and development commissioned by feeding America and The ConAgra foods foundation. Chicago.
Damot Gale Woreda Agricultural Office statistic report (2010/11).
Debabe Habtewolde (1995). Food security: a Brief Review of concerts and indicators. Proceedings of the inaugural and first annual conference of the agricultural economics society of Ethiopia.
Degefa Tolosa (2005). Causes of seasonal food insecurity in Oromiya Zone of Amhara Region: Farmers’View: Department of Geography, Norwegian University of science & Teachers. Degefa Tolosa (2002). Household seasonal food insecurity: Causes of social science Research report series.
Denke Dana (2008). Population Pressure and its impacts of food security of rural households of Damot Woyde Woreda, Wolaita Zone.
Dunifon, R. and Kowaleski-Jones, L. (2001). Associations between participation in the rational school Lunch program, Food insecurity, and child well-being.
Emerson, E. N., Crowley, S. L., & Merrell, K. W. (1994). Convergent validity of the school social behavior scales with the child behavior checklist and teacher’s report form. Journal of psycho educational Assessment, 12, 372-380.
Emery, R. E., Waldron, M., Kitzmann, K. M. and Aaron, J. (1999). Delinquent Behavior, culture divorce or non marital childrearing, and externalizing behavior among offspring: A 14 - year prospective study. Journal of family psychology, 13 (4), 1568-1579.
Fields, J. M. and Smith, K. E. (1998). Poverty, Family structure, and child wellbeing. Population Division U.S Bureau of the Census Washington D.C. population division working papers, no. 23.
Feist, J. and Feist, G. (2008).Theories of personality. Seventh edition. McGraw _ Hill, pp. 483 – 506.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(2002).. The State of Food Security in the World, 4th edition. Available from
Grantham _ McGregor, S. (1995). A review of studies of the effects of severe malnutrition on mental development. Tropical Metabolism research unit. University of the West Indies. The journal of nutrition, 84(5), 431 – 450.
Griggs, J. and Walker, R. (2008). The costs of child poverty for individuals and society. Review paper.
Gunderson, G. and Kreider, B. (2009). Bounding the effects of food insecurity on children’s health outcomes. Journal of health economics, 74(6), 431 – 449.
Guide to Measuring households food security (2000 ). The United States Department of Agriculture.
Haering, S. A. and Syed, S. B. (2009). Community food security in United states cities: A survey of the relevant scientific literature.
Horgan, G. (2007). The impact of poverty on young children’s experience of school. Joseph rowntree foundation. University of Ulster.
Howard, L. L. (2010). Transitions between food insecurity and food predict children’s social skill development during elementary school.
Hvang, J., Karen, M., Oshima, M. & Kim, Y. (2009). Does household food insecurity affect parental characteristics and child behavior? Evidence from the panel study of income dynamics (PSID). Social Service Review, 84(3), 381-401.
Keegan, M. E. (2001). The effects of poverty on children’s socio-emotional development: An ecological systems analysis. National association of social workers. Inc.
Kiernan, K. E. and Hwertee, M. C. (2008). Economic deprivation, maternal depression, parenting and children’s cognitive and emotional development in early childhood. The British Journal of Sociology, 59(47), 976 – 908.
Kleinman, R. E., Murphy, J. M., Little, M., Pagano, M., Wehler, C. A., Regal, K. and Jellinek, M. S. (1998). Hunger children in the United States: Potential behavioral and emotional correlates. Journal of American academy of pediatrics, 101 (3), 76 -94.
Kloep, M. and Tarifa, F. (1993). Linking economic hardship to families lives and children psychological wellbeing.
Lawrence, J., Neil, A., Bennett, G., Conley, D. C. and Li, J. (1997). The effects of poverty on child health and development.
Lilly, K. Y. (1998). Exploring the difficulties of stepmothers in the Hong Kong Chinese Society.
Liu, J., Raine, A., Venables, P. H. and Mednick, S. A. (2009). Malnutrition at age 3 years and externalizing behavioral problems at age 8,11,and 17 years. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 31(4), 32 -51.
Magnuson, K. and Vatruba- Drzal, E. (2009). Enduring influences of childhood poverty.
Melchior, M., Caspi, A., Howard, L. M., Ambler, A. P., Bolton, H., Mountain, N. and Moffitt, T. E. (2009). Mental health context and food insecurity: a representative cohort families with young children. The journal of American academy of pediatrics, 62(2), 154 – 173.
McDonald, M. A., Sigman, M., Espinosa, M. P. and Neumann, C. G. (1994). Impact of a temporary food shortage on children and their mothers.
Molcho, M., Gabhainn, S. N., Kelly, C., Friel, S. and Kelleher, G. (2005). Food poverty and health among school children in Ireland: findings from the health behavior in school aged children (HBSC) study.
Mold, Z., Shariff, K. and Khor, G. L. (2008). Household food insecurity and coping strategies in a poor rural community in Malaysia. Nutrition Research and Practice, (2008), 2(1), 26-34.
Naylor, B. T. (2009). Depression in children: Forms, causes and treatment. Nova science publishers, Inc. New York.
Nord, M. (2009). Food insecurity in Households with children: Prevalence, severity, and household characteristics. Economic Information, Bulletin, V16.
Paquette – John, D. R. (2001). Bronferbrenner’s ecological system theory.
Phipps, S. (2003). The impacts of poverty on health. Canadian institute of health information.
Pilgrim, A., Barker, M., Jackson, A. and Ntani, G. (2011). Does living in a food insecure household impact on the diets and body composition of young children? Findings from the Southampton women’s survey. Journal of epidemiological community health 56, 674 – 696.
Purutcuoglu, E. and Hablemitoglu, S. (2010). Interpersonal impact of poverty on children. International Journal of academic research, 2(6), 342 – 366.
Quandt, S. A., Shoaf, J. I., Japia, J., Hernandez – Pelletier, M., Clark, H. M. and Arcury, T. A. (2006). Experience of Latino Immigrant Families in North Carolina help explain elevated levels of food insecurity and hunger. The journal of nutrition, 28(8), 896 – 901.
Rabiee, F. (2004). Focus- group interview and data analysis. University of Central England. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 63, 655–660.
Racine, E. F., Jemison, K., Huber, L. R. and Arif, A. A. (2008). The well-being of children in food insecure households: results from the eastern Caribbean child vulnerability study.
Reid, k. (1997). The impacts of food insecurity on the children’s well being. The journal of hunger and poverty, 56(6), 502- 538.
Robinson, L. M., Mcintyre, L. and Officer, S. (2005). Welfare babies: Poor children’s experiences informing healthy poor relationship in Canada. Health promotion international, vol.20 No. 4, pp. 362 - 390
Rohde, B. (2003). The consequences of Hunger and Food insecurity for children: Evidence from recent scientific studies. Center on hunger and poverty Heller school for social policy and management. Brandeis University.
Rohde, B. (2002). Psychosocial and behavioral impacts of food insecurity.
Rose-Jacobs, R., Black, M. M., Casey, P. H., Cook, J. T., Cutts, D. B., Chilton, M., Heeren, T., Levenson, S. M., Meyers, A. F. and Frank, D. A. ( ). Household food insecurity: association with at- risk infant and toddler development. Journal of pediatrics, 121(65), 256 – 278.
Rothman, E. F., Mandel, D. G. and Silverman, J. G. (2007). Abusers’ perceptions of the effects of intimate partner violence on the children.
Ryu, J . H. (2010). Indirect effects of food insecurity on psychosocial well being among school-aged children: evidence from ECLS-k. University of Wisconsin Madison
Santrock, J. W. (2000). Introduction to childhood Psychology. Six edition.The McGraw-Hill companies. Pp. 208 & 331.
Schmidt, N. & Sermat, V. (1983). Measuring loneliness in different relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 1038-1047.
Shapiro, D. N. & Stewart, J. (2011). Parenting stress, perceived child regard, and depressive symptoms among stepmothers and biological mothers. Journal of nervous mental disorders, 60(5), 533 – 544.
Slack, K. S. and Yoo, J. (2004). Food Hardships and child behavior problems among low-income children. Institute for research on poverty. University of Wisconsin- Madison.
Slopen, N., Fitzmaurice, G., Williams, D. and Gilman, S. E. (2010). Poverty, food insecurity, and the internalizing and externalizing disorders. Journal of the American Academy of child and adolescent psychiatry, 49(5), 654 -668.
Spencer, N. (2004). Does material disadvantage explain the increased risk of adverse health, education, and behavioral outcomes among children in lone parent households in Britain? Journal of epidemic community health, 59, 152-157.
Tadelech Dalacho (1987). Socio-economic impacts of drought and the response of concern in Wolaita Awaraja with particular reference to Damot Wayde Woreda. A case study of 1984/85 Drought.
Taylor – Powell, E. and Renner, M. (2003). Analyzing qualitative data. Program development and evaluation. University of Wisconsin.
Tefera Belachew, Crogi Hadley, David Lindstrom, Abebe Gebremariam, Carl Lachat and Patrick Kolsteren(2011). Food insecurity, school absenteeism and educational attainments of adolescents in Jimma zone South Ethiopia: a longitudinal Study.
Thorne, S. (2000). Data analysis in qualitative research. University of British Colombia Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Tomlinson, M., Walker, R. and Williams, G. (2008). The relationship between poverty and childhood well-being in Great Britain.
UN Convention on the child rights (1990).
U.S. Department of Agriculture(1999). U.S. Action Plan on Food Security, Solutions to Hunger. Available from .
Weinrel, L., Wehler, C., Perloff, J., Scott, R., Hosmer, D., Sager, L. and Gunderson, E. (2002). Hunger: Its impact on children’s health and mental health. Journal of the American academy of pediatrics. 110(41), 981 – 1002.
Weissman, M. M., Qrvaschel, H., & Padian, N. (1980). Children’s symptom and social functioning self-report scales. Journal of nervous mental disorders, 168 (12): 736-740.
Whitaker, R. C., Philips, S. M. and Orzol, S. M. (2006). Food insecurity and the risks of depression and anxiety in mothers and behavioral problems in their preschool-aged children- The journal of pediatrics, 98, 534 – 563.
Wight, V. R., Thampi, K. and Briggs, J. (2010). Who are America’s poor children? Examining food insecurity among children in the United States.
Wolfe, W. S. and Frangillo, E. A. (2000). Building household food security measuring tools from ground up: Background paper.
World Health Organization(2000).. "Nutrition Research: Pursuing Sustainable Solutions." Updated September 16, 2011. Available from
Zamecnik, L. (2009). Canadian Women and Children hit hard by the impacts of food insecurity part one. Journal of hunger and poverty, 1(1), 23 – 46.
Zekeri, A. A. (2008). Food insecurity and emotional wellbeing among single mothers in rural south. The southern Rural Development Center Tuskegee University.
Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G. & Farley, G. K. (1988). The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 30-41.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186