Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 145

P06-125 - Higher household food insecurity is associated with greater depression among women than men in rural Tanzania

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective: Food insecurity (FI) has been posited to impact men and women of the same household differently, however, few empirical studies examine these relationships. We, therefore, examined intra-household differences in depression and evaluated how household food insecurity interacts with this difference.

Methods: We used cross-sectional data from the January 2017 survey of the Singida Nutrition and Agroecology Project. Rural farming households with children <1 y at baseline (January 2016) were eligible to participate. Male and female partners from 445 households were surveyed about a range of socio-demographic, agricultural, health, and nutrition indicators. We analyzed associations between household food insecurity [Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), range: 0-27] and depressive symptoms [Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, (CES-D), range: 0-65] using multivariate linear regressions on STATA14, controlling for Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index [range: 0-1], both men and women's age and years of education, and other well-established covariates of depression. Village fixed effect and clustered standard error were used.

Results: Sample-level mean FI was 10.7±7.4. Women reported higher average depression scores than men (21.6±12.1 vs. 19.6±10.2, p=0.024). Even though depression scores increased for both men and women as FI increased, it increased at a significantly steeper rate for women. Each 1-point increase in FI is associated with an increase in the intra-household difference in depression score by 0.25 points (p=0.012).

Conclusion: This study suggests that women unequally bear the psychological burden of household food insecurity. Although causality and mechanisms should be further explored, these data suggest an important pathway by which food insecurity is harmful.



Funding Source: This study was funded by the Collaborative Crop Research Program of the McKnight Foundation and Atkinson Center for Sustainable Futures of Cornell University. Sera L Young was supported by the National Institutes of Health (K01 MH098902).

CoAuthors: Rachel Bezner Kerr, PhD – Cornell University; Neema Kassim, PhD – Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology; Haikael Martin, PhD – Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology; Clara Mollay, MS – Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology; Kelvin Mtei, PhD – Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology; Elias Mtinda, MS – Action Aid Tanzania; Sera Young – Northwestern University

Marianne V. Santoso


Cornell University
Chicago, Illinois