|Title||Examining associations of food insecurity with major depression among older adults in the wake of the Great Recession|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Bergmans, RS, Wegryn-Jones, R|
|Journal||Social Science & Medicine|
|Keywords||depression, Food insecurity, Life transitions, Older Adults, Recession, relative disadvantage, social comparison, stress process|
Abstract: As a psychosocial stressor, the degree to which food insecurity impacts depression may be dependent on macro-level context, which can be examined in the wake of the Great Recession. The objective of this study was to determine (1) whether food insecurity transition status (i.e. initially food insecure, becoming food insecure, and remaining food insecure vs. not food insecure) was associated with major depression in older adults, and; (2) whether this association was moderated by macrolevel context. Data came from the United States Health and Retirement Study, 2008-2016. Multivariable logistic regression across all years revealed that major depression was associated with any exposure to food insecurity, however; this association was moderated by time period. Remaining food insecure was associated with major depression during all time periods. In contrast, becoming food insecure was associated with major depression in the years during and immediately following the Recession, but not in later time periods. Findings suggest that associations of food insecurity with major depression among older adults are moderated by macro-level context, consistent with theories of social comparison and relative disadvantage. Food insecurity may represent an important risk factor for major depression and mental health disparities across socioeconomic strata among older adults. Thus, policies that increase access to food assistance programs or improve the quality of local food environments may buffer against the impact of food insecurity on depression and associated complications in old age.