Food insecurity and academic function among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic: A moderating role of the first-generation college student status

J Am Coll Health. 2023 Mar 6:1-7. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2023.2185076. Online ahead of print.


Objective: To examine food insecurity (FI) prevalence among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic (April 2021) using cross-sectional design, and the moderating role of the first-generation student status in the relationship between FI and grade point average (GPA).

Participants: Three-hundred sixty students recruited mostly from upper-level kinesiology courses.

Methods: General linear model was used to predict GPA based on food security status, psychological health, and bodily pain, with subgroup analysis performed by first-generation student status.

Results: Approximately 19% were classified as having FI. Those with FI showed lower GPA and poor health compared to those without FI. The link between FI and GPA was moderated by first-generation student status, with the negative impact of FI on GPA more clearly observed among non-first-generation students.

Conclusion: First-generation student status could play a role in determining the impact of FI on academic performance.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Food insecurity; academic function; first-generation college students.