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Psychological Distress among College Students: Role of Food Insecurity and Other Social Determinants of Mental Health (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)

Publication Topics

California Health Interview Survey; Mental and Emotional Health; Diet and Nutrition

Publication Type

CHIS Journal Article

Publication Date


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<a onclick="OpenPopUpPage('http:\u002f\\u002f_layouts\u002flistform.aspx?PageType=4\u0026ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}\u0026ID=1106\u0026RootFolder=*', RefreshPage); return false;" href=";ListId={7AAD61FA-4BCB-48C0-B0B7-87AFDC3673EF}&amp;ID=1106&amp;RootFolder=*">Monideepa B. Becerra</a>

Author 2

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Summary: Food insecurity is a major social determinant of health and an assessment of how it may impact college students’ mental health is imperative, as well as differential associations by self-identified gender. California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data from 2018 were briefly referenced. A cross-sectional survey was used among college students of a mid-size minority-serving institution with a final sample size of 302 participants aged 18 years or older. 

Findings: Among those with food insecurity, the odds of reporting psychological distress and an average to very poor self-perceived mental health status were higher compared to their food-secure counterparts, with the results consistent in a gender-specific analysis as well. Compared to men, however, women had higher odds of psychological distress, as well as reporting average to very poor self-perceived mental health statuses. Among women, any alcohol use in the past 12 months and a low self-perceived physical health status were associated with an average to very poor self-perceived mental health status. Among men, a low perceived physical health status was associated with higher odds of psychological distress. Food insecurity should be considered a social determinant of mental health wellbeing. In addition, gender-specific trends in mental health highlight the need for targeted interventions for prevention and treatment. 


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Journal Article: Psychological Distress among College Students: Role of Food Insecurity and Other Social Determinants of Mental Health

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Press Release

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