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Exploring the Cultural Components of Food Security and Its Impacts on Well-Being and Cultural and Ethnic Identity in International and Second-Generation American, Minority College Students
AuthorWright, Kathrine Elise
AdvisorLucero, Julie E
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Within cultural food security research, little attention has been given to the perspectives of international (INT) and second-generation American (SGA) college student populations. This contributes to the need for additional research to understand the intricacy of the cultural food experience in student populations. The goal of this study was to understand how cultural food security influenced identity and well-being in INT and SGA college student populations. The first two projects sought to fill this gap in the research by using exploratory qualitative methodology. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to elicit information about students’ food experiences to identify how cultural foods play a role in one’s identity and further, how one’s well-being is influenced by the presence or lack of cultural foods. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 31 participants; 16 second-generation American undergraduate (n=13) or graduate (n=3) students, and 15 undergraduate (n=1) or graduate (n=14) international students to increase understanding about the relationship between cultural food security, identity, and well-being. Cultural food security influenced the ability to practice foodways, which tied SGA and INT students to their cultural identities. Foodways was the element linking CFS and identity, which enhanced the students’ identity formation and maintenance in three distinct ways: (1) cultural transmission, (2) food memories, and (3) social connections and belonging. Conversely, cultural food insecurity diminished or eliminated foodways and negatively impacted the students’ identity and produced feelings of identity degradation. The pathways by which these relationships occurred were similar in both SGA and INT student populations. However, nuances in the pathway exist between the SGA and INT students in five ways: (1) the role of identity in well-being, (2) traditional foodways and food identity, (3) foodways’ influence on well-being, and (4) conceptualizations of identity. The study results have important implications for universities to help improve the well-being of INT and SGA students, such as creating cultural communities amongst the student body. A systematic review was conducted for the third project to clarify definitions and increase the visibility of terms related to cultural food insecurity and advance knowledge on this topic. The protocol of this systematic review with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO; Registration no. CRD4202018490). Using PubMed, PsycINFO, EMbase, MEDLINE, Anthrosource, CAB direct, AgriCOLA, and Sociological Abstracts, articles were assessed for inclusion, and then definitions were extracted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement. The final review included 36 articles with 33 unique terms and 61 definitions of those terms. Among the definitions found in the reviewed literature, three distinct themes were identified during analysis (1) definitions for culturally related food sovereignty terms, (2) terms related to Indigenous food security and sovereignty, and (3) cultural food and diet terms. The results of this review support the argument for the need to examine the cultural, ethnic, and social components related to food security and food sovereignty, which have the potential to bolster the health and well-being of diverse populations around the globe.