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This study examined the association between household food insecurity (insufficient access to adequate and nutritious food) and trajectories of externalising and internalising behaviour problems in children in kindergarten through fifth grade using longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), a nationally representative study in the United States. Household food insecurity was assessed using the 18-item standard food security scale, and children's behaviour problems were reported by teachers. Latent growth curve analysis was conducted on 7,348 children in the ECLS-K, 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 behaviour problems. The impact of food insecurity on behaviour problems may be episodic or interact with certain developmental stages.


Huang, J., & Vaughn, M. G. (2016). Household food insecurity and children’s behavior problems: New evidence from a trajectories-based study. British Journal of Social Work, 46, 993-1008.

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Journal Article