Project: Developing a Food Security Survey Module for Use with Children and Youths
Award Year: 2002
Amount of award, fiscal 2002: $24,500.00
Institution: University of Southern Mississippi
Principal Investigator: Carol Connell
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: This study will develop a child/youth version of USDA's food security survey module, appropriate for either interviewer-administered or self-administered surveys of children aged 10 to 16 years of age. The U.S. food security scale is a survey-based measure that assesses the food security status of households through a series of 18 questions about food-related behaviors, experiences, and conditions known to characterize households having difficulty meeting their food needs. To adapt the measurement methods for use with children and youths, a subset of the questions will be modified to use language and concepts understandable to children in the intended age range. Cognitive interviewing and guided focus group methods will then be used to test and revise the questions.

Individual cognitive interviews and guided-small group discussions will be conducted with 20 to 24 children age 10-12 and 20 to 24 teens age 13-16 to assess whether the food security questions can be adapted for use with children/youth. The questions will be revised, based on findings from the initial interviews, and formatted into questionnaires for interviewer-administered and self-administered surveys. The questionnaires will then undergo a final phase of cognitive testing, using retrospective probing to assess the children's ability to complete the survey questionnaire without aid from an interviewer and to follow any skip patterns in the instrument in a more realistic survey environment. Based on the findings from this phase, final recommendations will be made on the wording of questions, the format for self administration, scale construction, and the minimum age at which children can be expected to comprehend the food security items and complete the survey.

Topic: Data Collection and Methodology, Food Security
Connell, C., K. Lofton, K. Yadrick, and T. Rehner. "Children's Experiences of Food Insecurity Can Assist in Understanding its Effect on Their Well-Being," The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 135, No. 7, July 2005.
Connell, C., M. Nord, K. Lofton, and K. Yadrick. "Food Security of Older Children Can Be Assessed Using a Standardized Survey Instrument," The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 134, Issue 10, October 2004.