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Social support and monetary resources as protective factors against food insecurity among older Americans: findings from a health and retirement study

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Abstract

We examined the association between social support, monetary resources, and food insecurity among a nationally representative sample of older Americans. Analyses included 1164 Americans aged 65 and above from the 2012 Health and Retirement Study and the 2013 Health Care and Nutrition Study. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the likelihood of food insecurity as a function of social support (including social contact, emotional support, and social strain), monetary resources (including household income and household assets), and covariates. We found older adults with greater social strain and lower emotional support were at increased risk of food insecurity. Greater monetary resources were associated with lower risk of food insecurity. Select indicators of social support appeared to moderate the effect of monetary resources on food insecurity, with increasing social strain reducing the protective benefits of greater household assets, and low emotional support reducing the protective effect of increased household income to non-significance. Emotional support and social strain are aspects of social relationships that may play important roles in the relationship between monetary resources and food insecurity. Interventions seeking to reduce the burden of food insecurity should consider the quality and quantity of social relationships as potential risk factors.

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Correspondence to Kaipeng Wang.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest for this study.

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Wang, K., Bishop, N.J. Social support and monetary resources as protective factors against food insecurity among older Americans: findings from a health and retirement study. Food Sec. 11, 929–939 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-019-00945-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-019-00945-8

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