School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Vivian O. Jones


Food Insecurity, Housing Insecurity, Higher Education, African American Population, Depression


Education | Higher Education


The purpose of this quantitative, predictive correlational study was to determine the prevalence of food and housing insecurities at one historically Black college and explore whether these insecurities influence students’ academic performance or their mental health quality. The study also explored possible predictors of students at risk of experiencing these basic needs challenges. A convenience sample of 175 participant surveys was collected in the fall 2021 semester at the small, private, liberal arts college in urban South Carolina. The instruments used in the survey included the USDA’s 6-item Household Food Security Survey Module, the Housing Insecurity and Homelessness Module, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and traditional student demographics. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the overall prevalence of these insecurities and multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine if possible predictive relationships between predictor and outcome variables exist. The results revealed more than three quarters of the students experienced food insecurity in the past month and more than one third experienced housing insecurity. The regression model showed no statistically significant relationship between students’ experiences with the two basic needs insecurities and their self-reported GPA. However, a statistically significant relationship was found between food and housing insecurity and reported depressive symptoms. The six predictor variables, gender, student classification, race/ethnicity, first-generation college student status, parental level of education, financial aid eligibility, and employment status were not statistically significant predictors of students at risk of experiencing these insecurities. Future studies may examine alternative predictors while focusing on the high level of reported depressive symptoms.