Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 66–80 | Cite as

Food Security During Infancy: Implications for Attachment and Mental Proficiency in Toddlerhood

  • Martha ZaslowEmail author
  • Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew
  • Randolph Capps
  • Allison Horowitz
  • Kristin A. Moore
  • Debra Weinstein


Objective This study examined the associations between household food security (access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food) during infancy and attachment and mental proficiency in toddlerhood. Methods Data from a longitudinal nationally representative sample of infants and toddlers (n = 8944) from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—9-month (2001–2002) and 24-month (2003–2004) surveys were used. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the direct and indirect associations between food insecurity at 9 months, and attachment and mental proficiency at 24 months. Results Food insecurity worked indirectly through depression and parenting practices to influence security of attachment and mental proficiency in toddlerhood. Conclusions Social policies that address the adequacy and predictability of food supplies in families with infants have the potential to affect parental depression and parenting behavior, and thereby attachment and cognitive development at very early ages.


Mental proficiency Food security Parental depression Attachment Toddlers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martha Zaslow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jacinta Bronte-Tinkew
    • 1
  • Randolph Capps
    • 2
  • Allison Horowitz
    • 1
  • Kristin A. Moore
    • 1
  • Debra Weinstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Child TrendsWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.The Urban InstituteWashingtonUSA

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