A large body of research has found that household food insecurity can interfere with the healthy development of children. The link between household food insecurity during childhood and misbehaviors during adolescence, however, is not commonly explored. The objective of the current study is to assess whether household food insecurity across childhood predicts four different forms of misconduct during early adolescence. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 (ECLS-K), a nationally representative sample of U.S. children, were employed in the present study. Associations between household food insecurity during childhood and adolescent misconduct were examined using Logistic and Negative Binomial Regression. Analyses were performed separately for males and females. The results revealed that household food insecurity and food insecurity persistence were predictive of most forms of misconduct for males, and were consistently predictive of engagement in multiple forms of misconduct and a greater variety of forms of misconduct for males. For females, however, household food insecurity generally failed to predict adolescent misconduct. The behavioral development of males during adolescence appears to be sensitive to the presence and persistence of household food insecurity during childhood. Future research should seek to replicate and extend the present findings to late adolescence and adulthood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health