Household Food Insecurity and Children’s Behaviour Problems: New Evidence From a Trajectories-Based Study


This study examined the association between household food insecurity (insufficient access to adequate and nutritious food) and trajectories of externalising and internalising behavior problems in children from kindergarten to fifth grade, using longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort, a nationally representative study in the United States. Household food insecurity was assessed by using the 18-item standard food security scale, and children’s behavior problems were reported by teachers. Latent growth curve analysis was conducted on 7,348 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort, separately for boys and girls. Following adjustment for an extensive array of confounding variables, results suggest that food insecurity generally was not associated with developmental change in children’s behavior problems. The impact of food insecurity on behavior problems may be episodic or interact with certain developmental stages.


Huang, J., & Vaughn, M. G. (2015). Household food insecurity and children’s behaviour problems: New evidence from a trajectories-based study. British Journal of Social Work. Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcv033