Understanding the Implications of COVID-19 for Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Families’ Food Insecurity and Wellbeing Using Daily Diary Data

Awarded Scholars:
Rebecca Ryan,Georgetown University
Anna Johnson,Georgetown University
Anna Gassman-Pines,Duke University
Project Date:
Dec 2020
Award Amount:
$164,362

From January to June 2020—a period encompassing before and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic—psychologist Rebecca Ryan and colleagues Anna Johnson and Anna Gassman-Pines partnered with the Power Packs Project (PPP), a school-based food assistance program in rural Pennsylvania, to assess its impacts on daily food insecurity and family wellbeing. Pennsylvania closed its public schools on March 13, 2020, and issued a stay-at-home order on April 1, disrupting the provision of PPP. After schools closed, many participating families lost availability to PPP resources during a time when those services were most needed. With funding from RSF, the investigators  will extend their study to examine the implications of school closures and social restrictions for food insecurity and psychological wellbeing through June 2021. The investigators will focus on these questions: How did families’ daily food security and psychological functioning change after school closures and restrictions were imposed? Were these changes affected by the receipt or subsequent loss of PPP? Do families recover to their pre-COVID levels of food insecurity and psychological wellbeing by Spring 2021? How will changes in the extent of the virus and any associated school and social restrictions affect families’ food insecurity and wellbeing? Will changes in food insecurity and family wellbeing associated with future COVID related restrictions be affected by the receipt or loss of PPP in the current school year? The study group includes 272 low-income rural families participating in PPP at six schools in two school districts. Families were recruited for a six-month daily diary study on food insecurity and parent and child wellbeing.

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