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Title:Food Assistance Policy in the United States: A Meta-Analysis of Selected Hunger Surveys, 1981-1989
Author(s):Galer-Unti, Regina Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rubinson, Laurna
Department / Program:Community Health
Discipline:Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Nutrition
Political Science, Public Administration
Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Education, Health
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to establish consensus data regarding the characteristics of individuals who self-reported hunger and to use this information to make suggestions regarding future collection procedures and hunger policy decisions. Because of its systematic methodology, meta-analysis was chosen to provide the framework for the investigation.
Hunger surveys conducted during the 1980s were discovered by searches of eight databases, examination of the files of the Food Research and Action Center in Washington, DC and by mailings to voluntary agencies and the chief health officers of all fifty states. Twenty-seven of the 158 studies discovered met all selection criteria and were weighted based on the sampling techniques employed, quality of survey design, use of a hunger perception measurement instrument, and reporting method. The weighted data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and Pearson product-moment correlation. Seventeen categories of questions related to demographic characteristics and participation in government assistance programs were analyzed.
Summary statistics indicated that individuals seeking emergency food assistance were predominantly white, female, unemployed, impoverished, living with children, poorly educated, unmarried, and had an average age of 38 years. Individuals receiving food stamps in this sample reported in 71% of the cases that the stamps did not last the month.
Correlational analyses revealed that, in this sample, individuals using one form of government assistance tended to use another, that individuals with full-time employment were seeking emergency food assistance, that a discrepancy between eligibility and participation and eligibility rates existed for all government food assistance programs, that benefit levels were too low for food stamps and possibly other programs. Elderly homeowners may have been at increased risk for hunger.
Short-term recommendations are for future research to set baseline data for characteristics of the population and to formulate policy that is more receptive to changes in the at-risk population. Long-term considerations must address issues of poverty, education, employment, child care, and equal pay for women. The employment of meta-analysis in future studies of survey research is recommended and specific methodological considerations for increased success of such a meta-analyses are addressed.
Issue Date:1993
Description:316 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9329033
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1993

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