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Using a Bifactor Model to Measure Food Insecurity in Households with Children

Victoria T. Tanaka (), George Engelhard and Matthew Rabbitt ()
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Victoria T. Tanaka: The University of Georgia
George Engelhard: The University of Georgia

Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 41, issue 3, No 8, 492-504

Abstract: Abstract In this study, we explored the dimensionality of U.S. food security measures using bifactor measurement models estimated on a sample of low-income households with children from the CPS Food Security Supplement. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food security as access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. In the United States, food security is measured by the Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) which is an 18-item survey module that asks information about the food security of a household’s adult and child members, if present. Previous research suggests the HFSSM may exhibit multidimensionality among households with children. Employing bifactor models in this study allowed us to explore the dimensionality of the HFSSM and identify potential subscales. Our findings suggest the HFSSM captures a single dimension of food security for households with children. The reliability of specific factor scores reflecting subscales for the adult and child items were very low, and the analyses suggest that caution should be used when interpreting separate subscale scores.

Keywords: Food insecurity; Food security; Food security measurement; Bifactor model; Dimensionality; Poverty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10834-020-09686-9

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