Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


School of Public Health

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 72 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Janine Jurkowski

Committee Members

Janine Jurkowski, Wendy Weller, Dianna Dragatsi


Food availability and low income families, Household Characteristics and home food availability, Mental health and home food availability behavior, Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP), Food relief, Poor, Depressed persons, Food consumption

Subject Categories

Public Health | Public Policy


Although about 47 million low-income people participated in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) program at the end of 2012, the effect of SNAP participation on some nutrition related outcomes is controversial or unknown. Particularly, the effect of SNAP on food availability at-home has not been examined despite its association with food consumption. In addition, little is known about individual and social factors influencing this relationship. This study examined the effects of the interaction between SNAP participation and depression and the effects of the interaction between SNAP participation and the presence of children under 17 years of age on food availability at home. To analyze these relationships, a sample of low-income individuals from the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 National Health and Examination Survey cycles (NHANES) was used. Stepwise logistic regression was implemented. The data demonstrated that SNAP participation does not have a statistically significant impact on availability of food at home. Additionally, there were no statistically significant moderating effects of depressive symptoms and presence of children under 17. The complex relationships between SNAP participation, consumption, food availability at home, depression, and presence of children should be further investigated. SNAP policies should focus on strategies to influence individuals' home food availability behaviors in addition to providing food assistance to SNAP participants. Researchers should further examine household and individual factors involved in food-availability at home behavior. Such research may elucidate the formation of personal food systems and the food choice negotiations that happen within households, and provide insight into how food assistance programs can influence personal food systems in order improve food purchase and consumption behaviors.