Strategic Growth Area: Equity and Social Disparity in the Human Condition (ESDHC)

Permanent URI for this collection

ESDHC explores and analyzes crucial issues related to diversity, especially those highlighted through the application of the analytical lens of intersectionality, emphasizes the simultaneous possession of multiple identities for all human beings, producing unique interactions among the identities and factors such as place and social institutions that have implications for experience and life chances. Scholarship about social disparities and difference in the human condition build on VT strengths in the areas of Health and the Environment, Identities and Culture, and Institutions, Organizations, and Policy (e.g., education, political and policy systems, businesses, and markets). Thematic areas include food security and systems, the built environment, the natural environment, sustainable global prosperity, public health, or innovative technologies.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 357
  • Promoting Equity by Scaling Up Summer Engineering Experiences: A Retrospective Reflection on Tensions and Tradeoffs
    Lee, Walter C.; Knight, David B.; Cardella, Monica E. (Purdue University, 2021)
    A central challenge in engineering education is providing experiences that are appropriate for and accessible to underserved communities. However, to provide such experiences, we must better understand the process of offering a geographically distributed asset-based out-of-school program. This paper focuses on a collaborative research project that examined the broad implementation of the Summer Engineering Experiences for Kids (SEEK) program organized by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). SEEK is a three-week summer program that engages participants in hands-on, team-based engineering design projects. NSBE’s goal is to make SEEK culturally sustaining, community-connected, and scalable. The purpose of this paper is to provide a retrospective reflection on various aspects of our collaborative project and highlight a series of tradeoffs that must be carefully considered to offer and examine the effectiveness of an intervention designed both to affirm cultural background as well as to broaden access. Guided by Yosso’s community cultural wealth (CCW) framework, we engaged in individual reflection and group discussions about the evolution of our three-year project. We considered the six types of capital outlined in CCW to examine various program design elements and tradeoffs. By illuminating the tradeoffs that are required, we hope this paper can help other program designers and researchers to intentionally, preemptively, and proactively consider such tradeoffs.
  • Are dementia services and support organisations meeting the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) caregivers of LGBT people living with dementia? A scoping review of the literature
    Di Lorito, Claudio; Bosco, Alessandro; Peel, Elizabeth; Hinchliff, Sharron; Dening, Tom; Calasanti, Toni; de Vries, Brian; Cutler, Neil; Fredriksen-Goldsen, Karen, I; Harwood, Rowan H. (Routledge, 2022)
    Objectives More than 60% of people with dementia live at home, where assistance is usually provided by informal caregivers. Research on the experiences of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) caregivers is limited. This scoping review of the literature synthesizes international evidence on support provision for the population of LGBT caregivers. Methods Eight electronic databases and Google Scholar were searched using terms including 'Dementia', 'LGBT' and 'Caregiver' for all types of articles, including empirical studies, grey literature and sources from charity/third sector/lobbying organisations. Article selection was performed by two raters. Data were analysed through deductive thematic analysis, and three themes were established a priori: Distinct experiences of LGBT caregivers; current barriers to support; strategies to overcome the current challenges. Results Twenty articles were included. Distinct experiences of LGBT caregivers included a loss of LGBT identity, the impact of historical events, families of choice, and disclosing LGBT identities. Current barriers to support included poor representation of LGBT caregivers in support services, negative attitudes of staff and reluctance of caregivers to seek support. Strategies to overcome the current challenges included staff awareness training and kite-marking inclusion. Conclusion Limited cultural competency of staff and a subsequent reluctance to seek help have an impact on use of support services among LGBT caregivers. Implications for practice include the development of cost-effective, feasible, and acceptable inclusiveness training for services. Implications for policy include implementation in organisations of top-down agendas supporting staff to understand sexuality and non-heteronormative relationships in older age.
  • The mental health of transgender and gender non-conforming people in China: a systematic review
    Lin, Yezhe; Xie, Hui; Huang, Zimo; Zhang, Quan; Wilson, Amanda; Hou, Jiaojiao; Zhao, Xudong; Wang, Yuanyuan; Pan, Bailin; Liu, Ye; Han, Meng; Chen, Runsen (Elsevier, 2021-12)
    Transgender and gender non-conforming (TGNC) individuals are at a high risk of adverse mental health outcomes due to minority stress-the stress faced by individuals categorised as stigmatised social minority groups. This systematic review sought to summarise the key mental health findings of the research on TGNC individuals in mainland China. We also aimed to consolidate research on the topic, identify specific mental health disparities, and offer new perspectives for future research to inform both policy and dinical practice. An extensive search of the literature, published in English and Chinese, was done between jan 1, 1990, and Aug 1, 2021, using PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, Wanfang (in Chinese), and CNKI (in Chinese). Overall, two qualitative and 28 quantitative articles were identified. The quantitative findings showed a high prevalence of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and stress-related issues, and greater disparities in psychological wellbeing. High prevalence is also reported in suicidality and self-harm behaviours in this group. Across the two qualitative studies, attributable factors included gender-related discrimination, barriers to accessing health services, low social support, decreased knowledge and awareness of HIV prevention, and demographic characteristics-such as marital status, educational level, and gender identity. This Review also found little evidence of gender-affirming care and mental health interventions in mainland China. Following from these results, the next step is to integrate multi-level, social-psychological interventions with education to reduce cultural stereotypes and transphobia in mainland China. Political and social implications are also discussed to inform a standard set of guidelines for transgender-indusive health-care services, including advocating for funding to create these special care programmes and services.
  • A tough woman around tender men: Dilma Rousseff, gendered double bind, and misogynistic backlash
    Jalalzai, Farida; Kreft, Brianna; Martinez-Port, Lizbet; dos Santos, Pedro A. G.; Smith, Brigid M. (Frontiers, 2022-09-07)
    Dilma Rousseff's presidency ended in controversial form. The first woman elected to the position in Brazil, Rousseff's 2016 impeachment was seen as a coup by her supporters and as a necessary step for democracy by her detractors. With the Brazilian economy facing its worst recession in history and the Car Wash corruption scandal ravaging the political class, critics continually raised questions about Rousseff's leadership style and abilities. This article analyzes how this criticism in part can be attributed to gendered subjective understandings of preferred leadership traits. Using a thematic analysis of interviews with political actors in five different Brazilian states conducted in 2017 and 2018, we demonstrate that gender stereotypes and sexism fueled criticisms about women's political leadership. While Rousseff's presidency was riddled with problems, the president's leadership style and abilities were scrutinized in distinct gendered ways, indicating a gendered double bind and a backlash against women in politics.
  • Aesthetics of Otherness: Representation of #migrantcaravan and #caravanamigrante on Instagram
    Rosa, Fernanda R.; Soto-Vasquez, Arthur D. (Sage, 2022-01)
    This article examines the representation of the migrant caravan on Instagram showing how an aesthetics of otherness has prevailed in this representation. Aesthetics of otherness is the result of the interaction between platform users' selections and platform affordances that creates a gap between the marginalized other and the user. Based on a qualitative content analysis of posts with the hashtags #caravanamigrante and #migrantcaravan, this research reveals that the two hashtags form parallel, although not alike, communicative spaces where migrant caravan representation is mostly mediated by professionals and organizations interested in promoting their own work and not by the migrants themselves. Despite this trend, users posting with #caravanamigrante were less likely to hijack the intent of the public, more likely to reference reasons for migration, and overall less likely to employ the aesthetics of otherness, which point to the possibility of circumventing the role of the platform in shaping the representation of marginalized people and social justice movements.
  • Unlocked: Art and Experiences From Inside Virginia's Prisons
    Johnson, Sylvester; Breslau, Margaret (2022-07)
    Among the approximately 25,000 people currently incarcerated in the Commonwealth of Virginia are mothers, fathers, siblings, and youths, who, like all other human beings, have stories to tell, ideas to share, and questions that can take on a life of their own in the way that all literature can do. With this biannual journal, we seek to amplify the voices of the incarcerated in our state through their poems, spoken word, personal reflections, and artwork. In doing so, we not only lift the concerns and creativity of those behind bars, but we also provide a healing space where imagination and talent serve to restore and empower. Art humanizes, engages, makes us think, and creates connections. It has always been a powerful agent for change if we just unlock it.
  • Octopus-inspired adhesive skins for intelligent and rapidly switchable underwater adhesion
    Frey, Sean T.; Tahidul Haque, A.B.M.; Tutika, Ravi; Krotz, Elizabeth V.; Lee, Chanhong; Haverkamp, Cole B.; Markvicka, Eric J.; Bartlett, Michael D. (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2022-07-13)
    The octopus couples controllable adhesives with intricately embedded sensing, processing, and control to manipulate underwater objects. Current synthetic adhesive–based manipulators are typically manually operated without sensing or control and can be slow to activate and release adhesion, which limits system-level manipulation. Here, we couple switchable, octopus-inspired adhesives with embedded sensing, processing, and control for robust underwater manipulation. Adhesion strength is switched over 450× from the ON to OFF state in <50 ms over many cycles with an actively controlled membrane. Systematic design of adhesive geometry enables adherence to nonideal surfaces with low preload and independent control of adhesive strength and adhesive toughness for strong and reliable attachment and easy release. Our bio-inspired nervous system detects objects and autonomously triggers the switchable adhesives. This is implemented into a wearable glove where an array of adhesives and sensors creates a biomimetic adhesive skin to manipulate diverse underwater objects.
  • Contraceptive Needs Among Women Recently Incarcerated at a Rural Appalachian Jail
    Wenzel, Sophie G.; Zabielski, Barbie; Borowski, Shelby (Mary Ann Liebert, 2021)
    Background: Incarceration is associated with negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes. We examined contraceptive needs among women incarcerated at a rural Appalachian jail with emphasis on pregnancy history, recent contraceptive use, and current and near-future contraceptive needs. Materials and Methods: A survey was administered to newly incarcerated women at a jail in Southwest Virginia. It included questions about (1) prior pregnancies; (2) pregnancy intentions, contraceptive use, and sexual activity in the 3 months before jail; (3) unprotected sex in the 5 days before jail; (4) interest in contraceptive education and access during incarceration; and (5) post-release sexual activity, pregnancy, and contraceptive plans. Results: One hundred ninety-three women completed surveys. Analyses focused on the 95 at risk for pregnancy. Fifty-eight percent of prior pregnancies on which women provided intention information were unintended, with 74% of respondents reporting at least 1 such pregnancy. Ninety-four percent of women reported vaginal intercourse during the 3 months before jail. Only 46% of those who did not want to get pregnant reported consistent contraceptive use. Condoms and withdrawal were the most common methods used. Forty percent of women were eligible for emergency contraception (EC). Most (78%) participants anticipated sex with a man within 6 months of release, and most (63%) did not want to become pregnant within a year of release. Almost half (47%) expressed interest in receiving birth control while in jail. Conclusions: Results support the need to offer women EC on incarceration, family planning education during confinement, and effective birth control before release.
  • Injury prevention for older adults: A dataset of safety concern narratives from online reviews of mobility-related products
    Restrepo, Felipe; Mali, Namrata; Sands, Laura P.; Abrahams, Alan; Goldberg, David M.; White, Janay; Prieto, Laura; Ractham, Peter; Gruss, Richard; Zaman, Nohel; Ehsani, Johnathon P. (Elsevier, 2022-06)
    Older adults are among the fastest-growing demographic groups in the United States, increasing by over a third this past decade. Consequently, the older adult consumer prod-uct market has quickly become a multi-billion-dollar in-dustry in which millions of products are sold every year. However, the rapidly growing market raises the poten-tial for an increasing number of product safety concerns and consumer product-related injuries among older adults. Recent manufacturer and consumer injury prevention efforts have begun to turn towards online reviews, as these provide valuable information from which actionable, timely intelligence can be derived and used to detect safety concerns and prevent injury. The presented dataset contains 1966 curated online product reviews from consumers, equally distributed between safety concerns and non-concerns, pertaining to product categories typically intended for older adults. Identified safety concerns were manually sub-coded across thirteen dimensions designed to capture relevant aspects of the consumer's experience with the purchased product, facilitate the safety concern identification and sub-classification process, and serve as a gold-standard, balanced dataset for text classifier learning. (c) 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
  • Identifying exposure pathways mediating adverse birth outcomes near active surface mines in Central Appalachia
    Ruktanonchai, Corrine W.; McKnight, Molly X.; Buttling, Lauren; Kolivras, Korine N.; Krometis, Leigh-Anne H.; Gohlke, Julia (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2022-06)
    Background: Previous work has determined an association between proximity to active surface mining within Central Appalachia and an increased risk of preterm birth (PTB) and low birthweight (LBW). Multiple potential exposure pathways may exist; however, including inhalation of particulate matter (airshed exposure), or exposure to impacted surface waters (watershed exposure). We hypothesize that this relationship is mediated by exposure to contaminants along one or both of these pathways. Methods: We geolocated 194,084 birth records through health departments in WV, KY, VA, and TN between 1990 and 2015. We performed a mediation analysis, iteratively including within our models: (a) the percent of active surface mining within 5 km of maternal residence during gestation; (b) the cumulative surface mining airshed trajectories experienced during gestation; and (c) the percent of active surface mining occurring within the watershed of residency during gestation. Results: Our baseline models found that active surface mining was associated with an increased odds of PTB (1.09, 1.05-1.13) and LBW (1.06, 1.02-1.11), controlling for individual-level predictors. When mediators were added to the baseline model, the association between active mining and birth outcomes became nonsignificant (PTB: 0.48, 0.14-1.58; LBW 0.78, 0.19-3.00), whereas the association between PTB and LBW remained significant by airshed exposure (PTB: 1.14, 1.11-1.18; LBW: 1.06, 1.03-1.10). Conclusions: Our results found that surface mining airsheds at least partially explained the association between active mining and adverse birth outcomes, consistent with a hypothesis of mediation, while mediation via the watershed pathway was less evident.
  • Mobile Communication and Use Behavior of the Urban Poor in a Developing Country: A Field Study in Malaysia
    Vaithilingam, Santha; Nair, Mahendhiran; Macharia, Mary; Venkatesh, Viswanath (Elsevier, 2022-04-01)
    We developed a contextualized model to predict the use of technology among the urban poor. Based on the core idea that, in developing countries, the urban poor face different challenges from those of the rural poor, we argued that five key facilitating conditions (FC)—namely, infrastructure, technical and support services, legal and regulatory framework, financial factors and affordability, and self-efficacy—are the central drivers of both non-instrumental and instrumental use of mobile devices. Situated in the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT), these FC were found to be important drivers in our study conducted among 396 mobile phone users in a poor urban area in Malaysia. In addition to extending a key UTAUT construct to an important context, our results have important practical implications, in that, to increase non-instrumental and instrumental use, careful attention should be given to co-development of mobile phone friendly policies pertaining to FC in developing countries.
  • Blockchain, adoption, and financial inclusion in India: Research opportunities
    Schuetz, Sebastian; Venkatesh, Viswanath (Elsevier, 2020-06-01)
    The economic development of rural India requires connecting remote villages to local and global supply chains. Yet, high rates of financial exclusion inhibit rural Indians from participating in these supply networks. We review the literature on financial inclusion, adoption, and blockchain in India, and posit that to resolve financial exclusion, the four challenges of geographical access, high cost, inappropriate banking products, and financial illiteracy need to be overcome. Next, we argue that blockchain technologies hold the potential to overcome most of these challenges. However, for blockchain technologies to become the cornerstone of financial inclusion initiatives, an understanding of technology adoption in India is needed. To guide the development of such understanding, we develop a research agenda on the antecedents of adoption, adoption patterns, and outcomes of adoption. Answering these research questions will lead to a nuanced understanding of adoption of blockchain-based technologies in rural India. The practical contribution of this paper is the discussion of how blockchain can alleviate the issue of financial exclusion in rural India, thereby providing a basis for a solution that could connect rural Indians to global supply chain networks. The theoretical contribution lies in the identification of knowledge gaps that should be answered to achieve financial inclusion of rural Indians.
  • Combating Infant Mortality in Rural India: Evidence From a Field Study of eHealth Kiosk Implementations
    Venkatesh, Viswanath; Rai, Arun; Sykes, Tracy Ann; Aljafari, Ruba (Society for Information Management, 2016-06-01)
    The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals listed high infant mortality rates as a major problem in developing countries, especially in rural areas. Given the powerful information dissemination capabilities, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been suggested as interventions to build infant care awareness and to modify healthcare behaviors. We examine how the use of one ICT intervention-specifically, eHealth kiosks disseminating authenticated and accessible medical information-can alleviate the problem of high infant mortality in rural India. We investigate how mothers' social networks affect their use of eHealth kiosks, seeking professional medical care for their infants and, ultimately, infant mortality. Drawing on the social epidemiology and social networks literatures, we focus on advice and hindrance from both strong and weak ties as the conduit of social influence on mothers' health-related behaviors for the care of their infants. Over a period of 7 years, we studied 4,620 infants across 10 villages where the eHealth kiosks were implemented along with support resources for proxy use. The results revealed that (1) eHealth kiosk use promotes seeking professional medical care and reduces infant mortality, (2) mothers are especially vulnerable to hindrance from both strong and weak ties as they choose to maintain the status quo of traditional infant healthcare practices (e.g., reliance on untrained personnel, superstitions, fatalism) in villages, and (3) advice from both strong and weak ties offers the potential to break down misplaced beliefs about infant healthcare practices and to develop literacy on seeking professional medical care. In contrast, in a comparative group of 10 neighboring villages, the reduction in infant mortality was not as pronounced and the effect of professional medical care in reducing infant mortality was lower. Our findings suggest that an ICT intervention can effectively address one of society's most important problems (i.e., infant mortality) even in parts of the world with limited resources and deep suspicion of technology and change. Overall, we believe such an ICT intervention will complement other investments being made, including the facilitation of use (proxy use) and provision of professional medical facilities to reduce infant mortality.
  • Networks, Technology, and Entrepreneurship: A Field Quasi-Experiment Among Women in Rural India
    Venkatesh, Viswanath; Shaw, Jason D.; Sykes, Tracy Ann; Wamba, Samuel Fosso; Macharia, Mary (Academy of Management, 2017-10-01)
    We address a grand economic challenge faced by women in rural India. We consider the interplay of women's social networks (ties to family, to community, and to men in power), information and communication technology (ICT) use, and time in relating to the initiation and success of women's entrepreneurial ventures. Results from a sevenyear field quasi-experiment in 20 rural villages in India support the model. Ties to family and community positively, and to men in power negatively, relate to ICT use, entrepreneurial activity, and entrepreneurial profit. ICT intervention also strongly impacts entrepreneurship, with 160 new businesses in the 10 intervention villages compared to 40 in the controls. Results also demonstrate the dynamic interplay of social networks and ICT use. For ties to family and community, the amplification effect is such that the highest levels of entrepreneurial activity and success are observed among women with high centrality and ICT use-effects that increase over time. For ties to men in power, ICT use is associated with increased entrepreneurial activity only when these ties are low, but these interactive temporary temporal patterns do not emerge for profit. We address implications for the grand challenges of empowering women in less developed countries.
  • Understanding e-Government portal use in rural India: role of demographic and personality characteristics
    Venkatesh, Viswanath; Sykes, Tracy Ann; Venkatraman, Srinivasan (Wiley, 2014-05-01)
    Electronic government (e-Government) is one of the most important ways to bridge the digital divide in developing countries. We develop a model of e-Government portal use. We use various individual characteristics, namely demographics and personality, as predictors of e-Government portal use. Specifically, our predictors were (1) gender, age, income and education; (2) the Big Five personality characteristics, i.e. extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness to experience; and (3) personal innovativeness with information technology. We conducted a field study in a village in India. We collected data from over 300 heads of household. We found support for our model, with most variables being significant and explaining 40% of the variance in e-Government portal use.
  • ICT for Development in Rural India: A Longitudinal Study of Women's Health Outcomes
    Venkatesh, Viswanath; Sykes, Tracy Ann; Zhang, Xiaojun (Society for Information Management, 2020-06-01)
    With a view toward improving the success of information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives in less developed countries in general and India in particular, this work seeks to uncover reasons for success and failure of ICT for development (ICT4D) initiatives. We drew on social networks theory in general and social contagion theory in particular, and examined the impact of advice network constructs on ICT kiosk use and the impact of ICT kiosk use on women's health outcomes (i.e., seeking modern medical care and maternal mortality). A two-level model (i.e., village and individual) was developed to understand how women in rural India were influenced by other women in their advice networks to use ICT kiosks, and the effects of ICT kiosk use on seeking modern medical care and maternal mortality. At the village level, we proposed lead user network effects. At the individual level, we proposed structural network effects of other women in a focal woman's network on individual outcomes of ICT kiosk use, seeking modern medical care, and maternal mortality. We focused on network position (i.e., centrality) and network tie strength (i.e., strong ties and weak ties) as explanatory variables. Specifically, we argued that strong tie centrality will have an adverse effect on ICT kiosk use, whereas weak tie centrality will have a favorable effect. We also argued ICT kiosk use will have a positive effect on seeking modern medical care and a negative effect on maternal mortality. Finally, we argued that seeking modern medical care will have a negative effect on maternal mortality. Our model was mostly supported in data collected about 6,710 women in 10 intervention group villages in rural India and 8,344 women in the control group villages over a period of approximately 7 years.
  • Mad Squirrel Keeping it Rural: Reflecting on Twenty Years of Hip-hop Environmental Awareness and Advocacy
    Harrison, Anthony Kwame; Pace, Ahad (2022-04-28)
    In this autobiographical piece, I reflect on my twenty-year history as an emcee working at the intersection of hip hop and environmental awareness. Since summer 2000, I have recorded and performed environmentally situated hip-hop music under the moniker “Mad Squirrel.” This includes co-founding two groups—the San-Francisco-based Forest Fires Collective and Washington DC’s The Acorns—as well as releasing various solo projects and taking part in a handful of performances. In what follows, I explain the origins of my nature-based performance identity by, first, recounting my experiences growing up as an avid hip-hop fan in a rural New England (USA) mountain village and, then, expounding on how Mad Squirrel’s forest narratives marked a return to the Black diasporic tradition of animal stories that align with my West African heritage. I go on to describe how this identity and approach became the springboard for a small circle of Bay Area artists to produce a series of critically heralded releases in the early 2000s. After relocating to the East Coast of the United States, I continued to create nature-based hip hop and, notably, performed at several fundraisers and political rallies organized around the movement to stop Mountain Top Removal coalmining in Southern Appalachia. Underlying these narrative accounts, in this piece, I critique hip hop’s presumed urban-rural divide by highlighting its longstanding presence in in rural communities; I compare and contrast the effectiveness of using didactic versus coded environmentalist lyrics/themes; and I draw attention to the underappreciated connections between environmentalism and anti-racism. While acknowledging hip hop’s failure to thoroughly embrace an environmental justice agenda, through this personal case study, I draw attention to some of the groundwork that has been done in alternative hip-hop spaces and advocate for fruitful directions through which to move forward.
  • A Preliminary Evaluation of Virginia Fresh Match: Impacts and Demographic Considerations for Future Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Programs
    Misyak, Sarah A.; Parker, Molly K.; Ledlie Johnson, Meredith; Hedges, Sam; Borst, Elizabeth; McNamara Best, Maureen; Hedrick, Valisa E. (MDPI, 2022-04-05)
    The purpose of this communication is to describe the preliminary evaluation of the Virginia Fresh Match (VFM) financial incentive program for fresh fruits and vegetables for Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program shoppers and to determine if there were differences in incentive outcomes by race. In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was administered to shoppers using Virginia Fresh Match incentives at participating farmers markets and community-based food retail outlets. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to detect differences in fruit and vegetable consumption between demographic groups over time. Chi-square tests were used to determine if there were associations between race and perceived impact of VFM incentives on making food last and the attribution of VFM incentives to changes in fruit and vegetable consumption frequency. Frequency of fruit and vegetable intake was significantly higher during VFM incentive use, with a difference of 1.17 ± 0.07 and 1.07 ± 0.07 on a Likert scale measure, respectively (p ≤ 0.001). There were racial differences in assertions that VFM incentives helped food to last. VFM incentives were effective at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, but racial differences should be considered in the administration of VFM to avoid reinforcing systems or approaches that may contribute to disparities in food access and food security.
  • Understanding the Relationship between Food Security and Mental Health for Food-Insecure Mothers in Virginia
    Liebe, Rachel A.; Adams, Leah M.; Hedrick, Valisa E.; Serrano, Elena L.; Porter, Kathleen J.; Cook, Natalie E.; Misyak, Sarah A. (MDPI, 2022-04-02)
    Food insecurity, which disproportionately impacts mothers, can have chronic consequences on physical and mental health. There is a relationship between food insecurity and mental health, but the relationship’s mechanisms are unclear. This study aimed to understand how mental health outcomes differ by food insecurity severity and race among Virginia mothers. A cross-sectional survey employed previously validated food security status measures, physical and mental health, social support, and food coping strategies. Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Spearman’s rank-order correlations, linear regression, and chi-squared with effect sizes. Overall, respondents (n = 1029) reported worse mental health than the U.S. average (44.3 ± 10.1 and 50, respectively). There was a large effect of food security on mental health (d = 0.6), with worse mental health outcomes for mothers experiencing very low food security (VLFS) than low food security (LFS; p < 0.001). There was a small effect of race on mental health (φc = 0.02), with Black mothers having better mental health than White mothers (p < 0.001). Compared to mothers experiencing LFS, mothers experiencing VLFS had less social support (d = 0.5) and used more food coping strategies, especially financial strategies (d = −1.5; p < 0.001). This study suggests that food-insecure mothers experience stressors and lack adequate social support, which is even more distinct for mothers experiencing VLFS.
  • Women’s Center Newsletter, January 20, 2022
    (Virginia Tech, 2022-01-20)
    The goal of the Women's Center Newsletter is to provide timely updates on information, support resources, and programs that are available to help support faculty and staff in their professional and personal lives.