Hungry for Respect: Discrimination among Adults Using Emergency Food Services

  • Gilbert Gee
  • Kathryn J. Lively Dartmouth College
  • Larissa Larsen University of Michigan
  • Jennifer Keith Philadelphia Health Management Corporation
  • Jana Stone California Department of Health Services
  • Kara MacLeod University of California, Berkeley
Keywords: Discrimination, disparities, hunger, race, mixed-methods


Objectives: We examined how adults using emergency food services report discrimination and how these reports may be associated with well-being. Methods: Data come from a survey (n=318) and from five focus groups of adults using emergency food services, conducted between 2003-2004. The survey included measures derived from the Everyday Discrimination Scale and the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). Focus groups were analyzed with content analysis. Results: The survey data suggest that everyday discrimination was associated with the CES-D, conditional on covariates. Focus group data are consistent with the survey results and suggest several avenues for future research, including how some individuals may forgo access to food and medications in order to protect their dignity in the face of discrimination. Conclusions: Qualitative and quantitative data converge into a similar theme - discrimination may be an important factor associated with well-being.


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