Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Other Mental Health Correlates in a Predominantly Latino/Hispanic Sample Living With Food Insecurity

Victoria B. Marshall, Savannah C. Hooper, Francesca Gomez, Keesha M. Middlemass, Lisa S. Kilpela, Carolyn B. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Food insecurity (FI) is a global public health concern that is associated with psychopathology, including depression and anxiety. Individuals living with social disadvantages, such as experiencing low SES or being part of minoritized populations, are at higher risk of developing lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following trauma exposure. Yet relatively little is known about PTSD prevalence rates and the potential mental health burden in populations with FI. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence rates and characteristics of PTSD and associated mental health burdens inalow SES, predominantly Latino/Hispanic sample with FI in the United States. Method: The study utilized self-report surveys in a cross-sectional design. Participants included 891 clients of a local urban food bank. Results: In this sample, 45.8% reported experiencing one or more traumatic events and 17.4% met the clinical cutoff for PTSD. These results indicate that, while rates of traumatic event exposure are comparable to the general population, those experiencing FI report higher rates of PTSD. Of those with PTSD, 72.3% met the clinical cutoff for generalized anxiety disorder, 69% for depression, and 25.8% for an eating disorder (ED). Furthermore, PTSD symptom severity accounted for 43.6%, 29.6%, and 18.7% of the variance in linear regression models for depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and ED pathology, respectively. Conclusions: The compounding mental health consequences of experiencing FI, PTSD, and other psychopathology needs further investigation. Moreover, affordable and accessible treatment models are imperative to address the needs of this low-SES population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1094-1101
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023


  • Hispanic
  • Latino
  • PTSD
  • food insecurity
  • trauma exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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