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Characterization of household food insecurity in Québec: food and feelings


  • Hamelin, Anne-Marie
  • Beaudry, Micheline
  • Habicht, Jean-Pierre


This study was undertaken to understand food insecurity from the perspective of households who experienced it. The results of group interviews and personal interviews with 98 low-income households from urban and rural areas in and around Québec City, Canada, elicited the meaning of "enough food" for the households and the range of manifestations of food insecurity. Two classes of manifestations characterized the experience of food insecurity: (1) its core characteristics: a lack of food encompassing the shortage of food, the unsuitability of both food and diet and a preoccupation with continuity in access to enough food; and a lack of control of households over their food situation; and (2) a related set of potential reactions: socio-familial perturbations, hunger and physical impairment, and psychological suffering. The results substantiate the existence of food insecurity among Québecers and confirm that the nature of this experience is consistent with many of the core components identified in upstate New York. This study underlines the monotony of the diet, describes the feeling of alienation, differentiates between a lack of food and the reactions that it engenders, and emphasizes the dynamic nature of the experience.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:54:y:2002:i:1:p:119-132

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Máximo Rossi & Zuleika Ferre & María Rosa Curutchet & Ana Giménez & Gastón Ares, 2016. "Influence of socio-demographic characteristics on different dimensions of household food insecurity in Montevideo, Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0516, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Craig Gundersen & Brent Kreider, 2008. "Food Stamps and Food Insecurity: What Can Be Learned in the Presence of Nonclassical Measurement Error?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 352-382.
    3. Nanama, Siméon & Frongillo, Edward A., 2012. "Altered social cohesion and adverse psychological experiences with chronic food insecurity in the non-market economy and complex households of Burkina Faso," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 444-451.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:10:p:1817-:d:114406 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Dubois, Lise & Farmer, Anna & Girard, Manon & Porcherie, Marion, 2006. "Family food insufficiency is related to overweight among preschoolers'," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(6), pages 1503-1516, September.
    7. Hadley, Craig & Stevenson, Edward Geoffrey Jedediah & Tadesse, Yemesrach & Belachew, Tefera, 2012. "Rapidly rising food prices and the experience of food insecurity in urban Ethiopia: Impacts on health and well-being," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2412-2419.
    8. Whittle, Henry J. & Palar, Kartika & Seligman, Hilary K. & Napoles, Tessa & Frongillo, Edward A. & Weiser, Sheri D., 2016. "How food insecurity contributes to poor HIV health outcomes: Qualitative evidence from the San Francisco Bay Area," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 228-236.
    9. Carter, Kristie N. & Kruse, Kerri & Blakely, Tony & Collings, Sunny, 2011. "The association of food security with psychological distress in New Zealand and any gender differences," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(9), pages 1463-1471, May.
    10. Wutich, Amber & Ragsdale, Kathleen, 2008. "Water insecurity and emotional distress: Coping with supply, access, and seasonal variability of water in a Bolivian squatter settlement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(12), pages 2116-2125, December.
    11. Daniel Millimet & Manan Roy, 2015. "Partial identification of the long-run causal effect of food security on child health," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 83-141, February.
    12. Tsai, Alexander C. & Tomlinson, Mark & Comulada, W. Scott & Rotheram-Borus, Mary Jane, 2016. "Food insufficiency, depression, and the modifying role of social support: Evidence from a population-based, prospective cohort of pregnant women in peri-urban South Africa," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 69-77.
    13. Gundersen, Craig & Kreider, Brent, 2009. "Bounding the effects of food insecurity on children's health outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 971-983, September.
    14. Valerie Tarasuk & Joan Eakin, 2005. "Food assistance through “surplus” food: Insights from an ethnographic study of food bank work," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 22(2), pages 177-186, June.
    15. Anita Borch & Unni Kjærnes, 2016. "The Prevalence and Risk of Food Insecurity in the Nordic Region: Preliminary Results," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 261-274, June.
    16. Messer, Ellen & Cohen, Marc J., 2007. "The human right to food as a U.S. nutrition concern, 1976-2006:," IFPRI discussion papers 731, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    17. Whittle, Henry J. & Palar, Kartika & Hufstedler, Lee Lemus & Seligman, Hilary K. & Frongillo, Edward A. & Weiser, Sheri D., 2015. "Food insecurity, chronic illness, and gentrification in the San Francisco Bay Area: An example of structural violence in United States public policy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 154-161.


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