"A Lot of Us Struggle with Food": Investigating the Communicative, Intersectional, and Systemic Nature of College Food Insecurity

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate college food insecurity as a systemic health communication and public health issue and to examine how college students' unique intersecting identities relates to their experiences of college food insecurity. Within this study, using convenience sampling, phenomenological interviews were conducted via Zoom with 22 students who self-identified as being food insecure. Results from a thematic analysis yielded five themes: (a) Defining the Phenomena – College Food Insecurity at The University of Alabama, (b) The Communicative Experience of College Food Insecurity, (c) Identity's Influence on College Food Insecurity, (d) College Student Identity as a Marginalizing Identity, and (e) Institutional Responsibility. Together, these themes explain the role of communication, identity, and higher education in sustaining college food insecurity as a systemic issue. These findings address gaps in understanding college food insecurity in a more comprehensive fashion, investigating what influences how college students communicate about college food insecurity, what college food insecurity communicates about a student, identifying college food insecurity as a systemic issue, and providing ways to move forward in combatting and preventing the issue from continuing.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
College students, Food insecurity, Health communication, Intersectionality, Public health