246152 Navigating and negotiating social support networks: How low-income men experience persistent food insecurity and acquisition

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Patricia L. Fanflik, MS, MA , Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Tiffani Stevenson, MS , Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Stephanie Grutzmacher, PhD , Department of Family Studies, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Food insecurity is a significant public health crisis that occurs when the quality or quantity of food is not sufficient to meet and maintain basic nutritional needs. There is evidence to suggest that men and women experience food insecurity differently and thus may engage in unique coping mechanisms based on gender when attempting to secure food. Much has been written in regard to food insecurity and coping strategies for women; there is a paucity of research examining how men with limited resources traverse social support networks to acquire food. The purpose of this research was to examine how men experiencing food insecurity navigate and negotiate social support networks in an attempt to acquire food. This study is a part of a larger research project examining the experiences of low-income adults' who suffer from food insecurity. These data were derived from 33 audio recorded semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with low-income men. The interviews revealed three major social networks used by interview participants. In an effort to cope with food insecurity, men overwhelmingly used family, friends, and community social support networks to acquire food. Emerging themes centered on the men's reliance on predominantly female friends and family members to assist them in food acquisition efforts. Females play the role of caregivers surrounding food distribution in social support networks for men. The findings from this analysis have significant implications for the development of intervention or prevention programs that aim to foster outreach services for both men and women in seeking and acquiring food.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the role of social support networks, specifically the role of women, in care giving surrounding food for low income men. Discuss food acquisition strategies of low-income men who are food insecure. Analyze the significant implications for the development of prevention and intervention programs geared towards serving both men and women who are food insecure.

Keywords: Nutrition, Food Security

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present on this topic because I am the lead investigator on this research project, have participated in all stages of the research, and have extensive knowledge of the topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.