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Altered social cohesion and adverse psychological experiences with chronic food insecurity in the non-market economy and complex households of Burkina Faso

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  • Nanama, Siméon
  • Frongillo, Edward A.
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    Abstract

    Food insecurity negatively impacts outcomes in adults and children including parenting practices, child development, educational achievement, school performance, diet, and nutritional status. Ethnographic and quantitative research suggests that food insecurity affects well-being not only through the lack food, poor diet, and hunger, but also through social and psychological consequences that are closely linked to it. These studies are limited in number, and have mostly been carried out in contexts with market economies where household access to food depends almost solely on income. This study considers the social and psychological experiences closely linked to food insecurity in northern Burkina Faso, a context marked by subsistence farming, chronic food insecurity with a strong seasonal pattern, and a complex social structure. A total of 33 men and women from ten households were interviewed in February 2001 using semi-structured interview guides. Data were analyzed following the principles of thematic analysis. Food insecurity is closely linked with consequences such as concern, worries, and anxiety that ultimately lead to weight and sleep loss. Food insecurity results in feelings of alienation (e.g., shame) and deprivation (e.g., guilt), and alters household cohesion leading to disputes and difficulties keeping children at home. Decisions made by household members to manage and cope with food insecurity are shaped by their fear of alienation and other cultural and social norms. These findings, although derived from data collected 10 years ago before the 2008 food and fuel crises, remain valid in the study context, and emphasize the importance of social and psychological consequences closely linked to food insecurity and their negative impact on the well-being at both individual and household levels in contexts of non-market economy and chronic food insecurity. Attention to these non-nutritional consequences will improve the design, implementation, and evaluation of food insecurity programs in this and similar contexts.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 74 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 444-451

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:74:y:2012:i:3:p:444-451

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    Related research

    Keywords: Burkina Faso; Food insecurity; Polygamy; Nutrition; Worry; Alienation; Deprivation; Management strategies; Households; Gender;

    References

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    1. Hadley, Craig & Lindstrom, David & Tessema, Fasil & Belachew, Tefara, 2008. "Gender bias in the food insecurity experience of Ethiopian adolescents," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 427-438, January.
    2. Joshua Winicki & Kyle Jemison, 2003. "Food Insecurity and Hunger in the Kindergarten Classroom: Its Effect on Learning and Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 145-157, 04.
    3. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
    4. Maes, Kenneth C. & Hadley, Craig & Tesfaye, Fikru & Shifferaw, Selamawit, 2010. "Food insecurity and mental health: Surprising trends among community health volunteers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the 2008 food crisis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1450-1457, May.
    5. Hampshire, Katherine Rebecca & Panter-Brick, Catherine & Kilpatrick, Kate & Casiday, Rachel E., 2009. "Saving lives, preserving livelihoods: Understanding risk, decision-making and child health in a food crisis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 758-765, February.
    6. Hamelin, Anne-Marie & Beaudry, Micheline & Habicht, Jean-Pierre, 2002. "Characterization of household food insecurity in Québec: food and feelings," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 119-132, January.
    7. Maxwell, Daniel & Caldwell, Richard & Langworthy, Mark, 2008. "Measuring food insecurity: Can an indicator based on localized coping behaviors be used to compare across contexts?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 533-540, December.
    8. Heflin, Colleen M. & Siefert, Kristine & Williams, David R., 2005. "Food insufficiency and women's mental health: Findings from a 3-year panel of welfare recipients," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(9), pages 1971-1982, November.
    9. Michael Kevane & Leslie Gray, 1999. "A Woman's Field Is Made At Night: Gendered Land Rights And Norms In Burkina Faso," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 1-26.
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    Cited by:
    1. Tsai, Alexander C. & Bangsberg, David R. & Frongillo, Edward A. & Hunt, Peter W. & Muzoora, Conrad & Martin, Jeffrey N. & Weiser, Sheri D., 2012. "Food insecurity, depression and the modifying role of social support among people living with HIV/AIDS in rural Uganda," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(12), pages 2012-2019.

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