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Predictors of Food Insecurity and Their Relationship to Academic Achievement of College Students
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A study was conducted at a mid-sized, western university to test and understand the causes and consequences of food insecurity. This study draws on ecological systems theory to derive hypotheses that address the influence of the family microsystem on the college microsystem over time. Data were analyzed from an existing study conducted on-campus in the spring of 2016. The focus of the analysis was on student race/ethnicity, Pell Grant status, first-generation college student status, employment status, living circumstances, and their relationships with food insecurity and academic achievement. Food insecurity and student GPA were predicted by student characteristics, and food insecurity was tested as a mediator between student characteristics and GPA. Results indicate that food insecurity mediates the relationship between several student characteristics and GPA, specifically, they indicate that students eligible for Pell Grants, first-generation college students, students living off-campus and students employed for more hours per week had lower GPAs, in part, because they had higher levels of food insecurity. This study highlights the importance of food security status amongst vulnerable college student populations and its implications for their academic performance.