Date of Conferral





Public Health


Naa-Solo Tettey


In low-income, suburban Black communities, the prevalence of diet-related chronic illnesses is alarming. Various influences often increase diet-related illnesses among this population. One influence is the use of SNAP benefits to purchase food. In this study, the influences of SNAP as well as other influences affecting food purchase decisions among the study population was examined. A qualitative multicase study approach was used and, face-to-face interviews were conducted, to understand the experiences of 20 low-income, current recipients of SNAP who were Black and lived in suburban, New York. The data indicated the most significant influence, communicated by the participants, was that children in the household had a great deal of influence over food purchases. This was followed by health issues and concerns of those in the household and, the SNAP benefit amount. The study results shed light on multiple issues faced not just with buying food, but with trying to buy healthy food on a SNAP budget. The findings are consistent with previous studies which suggest food choices are often influenced by personal and cultural ideals, and controlled by present income, family structure, and the health of family members. The study findings also support Bandura's conceptual framework which believes before changes in behavior can take place, factors that can possibly influence behavior must be considered. In conclusion, providing guidance for both public health and social service providers on the influences that effect behavior among specific populations may impact social change and lead to greater success in the prevention of diet-related chronic illnesses.