Food insecurity is associated with social capital, perceived personal disparity, and partnership status among older and senior adults in a largely rural area of central Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examined the association of compositional measures of collective social functioning, composed of community and familial social capital and perceived personal disparity, with food security among older (aged 50-59 y) and senior (aged 60 y) adult residents of the largely rural Brazos Valley in Central Texas using data from the 2006 Brazos Valley Community Health Assessment (analytic N = 1059, 74% response rate). Among older adults and seniors, 18.6% reported food insecurity (5.5% often and 13.1% sometimes), defined as running out of food and not having money to buy more. Low community social capital was reported by 22.4% of participants, and 30.8% indicated they were single, widowed, or divorced, an indicator of limited familial social capital. A robust multinomial regression model found the odds of reporting greater food insecurity increased for individuals who were women, African American, residents of a household with a low or poverty-level income, individuals who perceived themselves to be worse off than others within their community, and those who had low social capital. The odds of being food insecure decreased for older respondents, partnered respondents and persons with more education (pseudo r(2) = 0.27, p < 0.0000). Compositional level measures of collective social functioning are important associates of food insecurity among older adults and seniors, regardless of severity.

published proceedings

  • J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr

author list (cited authors)

  • Dean, W. R., Sharkey, J. R., & Johnson, C. M.

citation count

  • 58

complete list of authors

  • Dean, Wesley R||Sharkey, Joseph R||Johnson, Cassandra M

publication date

  • April 2011