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Heflin article on food insecurity and educational attainment published in Social Problems

Oct 22, 2020

Exposure to Food Insecurity during Adolescence and Educational Attainment

Colleen Heflin, Rajeev Darolia & Sharon Kukla-Acevedo

Social Problems, October 2020

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin


Previous research has documented the negative consequences of exposure to food insecurity over the early childhood period in terms of health and cognitive and behavioral outcomes, but less research has explored the consequences of exposure to food insecurity at other points in childhood.

The authors examine the association between food insecurity during adolescence and educational attainment. They begin by exploring a conceptual framework for the potential mechanisms that might lead adolescents who experience food insecurity to have differential educational outcomes. Then, they use descriptive and regression analysis to see whether food insecurity is associated with lower educational attainment using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Transition to Adulthood Survey. The authors find that exposure to food insecurity during adolescence predicts lower levels of educational attainment by reducing college attendance.

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