Auxiliary measures to assess factors related to food insecurity: Preliminary testing and baseline characteristics of newly designed hunger-coping scales

Courtney Pinard, Teresa M. Smith, Eric E. Calloway, Hollyanne E. Fricke, Farryl M. Bertmann, Amy L. Yaroch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The objective of this paper is to describe the development and preliminary testing of new scales to assess hunger-coping behaviors in a very low-income population. Very low-income adults (≥. 19 years), caregivers to at least one child (n = 306) completed a survey in a community setting (e.g., libraries). The survey included novel items assessing hunger-coping behaviors (e.g., trade-offs to purchase food, strategies to stretch and obtain food), food insecurity status, and physiological hunger. Internal consistency of hunger-coping scales, one-way ANOVAs, post-hoc analyses, Spearman's correlations among variables. Respondents were 75% female, 51% African American, 34% White, and 15% Hispanic, and 73% earned <$20,000/year. Four scales emerged: hunger-coping trade-offs, financial coping strategies, rationing coping strategies, and physiological adult hunger symptoms. All scales demonstrated acceptable internal consistency (α/KR-20 = 0.70-0.90). Predictive, construct, and content validity were demonstrated by correlations between hunger-coping scales and food insecurity (FI), measured with the USDA 6-item HFSSM (rs = 0.42-0.68, ps < 0.001). Higher levels of hunger-coping trade-offs (F(2,297) = 42.54, p < 0.001), financial coping strategies (F(2,287) = 70.77, p < 0.001), and rationing coping strategies (F(2,284) = 69.19, p < 0.001), corresponded with increasing levels of FI. These preliminary results support use of newly developed hunger-coping scales in a very low-income population and can compliment traditional food security measures to inform hunger prevention policy and programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-295
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016



  • Food insecurity
  • Hunger-coping
  • Psychometrics
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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