Parental History of Disruptive Life Events and Household Food Insecurity

Dylan B. Jackson, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To investigate whether a history of disruptive life events (ie, school suspension or expulsion, job termination, hospitalization for mental health, and/or criminal justice involvement) among parents is positively associated with household food insecurity. Design Structured interviews and self-report surveys. Setting Households across all 50 states in the US. Participants Subsample of 6,270 households that participated in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort with valid maternal and paternal data. Main Outcome Measures Food insecurity was measured when children were aged 9 months (wave 1), 2 years (wave 2), and 4 years (wave 3). Parental history of disruptive life events was measured at wave 1. Analysis Logistic regression was used to carry out the analyses. Results Each examined disruptive life event was associated with a significant increase in the odds of persistent household food insecurity (P <.05). The probability of persistent household food insecurity was >6 times as large in households with 1 or both parents reporting the occurrence of each of the disruptive life events, relative to households with none of these parental risk factors. Conclusions and Implications Practitioners may want to consider parental history of various disruptive life events in their assessment of familial risk of household food insecurity. Future policy efforts might include a cost–benefit estimate analysis of intervening earlier in the food insecurity–disruptive life events nexus to advocate for savings to the taxpayer for prevention services. Moreover, future research could evaluate these practice and policy-driven efforts using quasi-experimental designs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-560.e1
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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