Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences




Using the social-ecological model, this basic interpretive qualitative study sought to examine the phenomenon of food insecurity among Idaho Head Start enrolled families, focusing on barriers and deterrents to accessing available nutrition assistance programs. A total of 11 interviews were conducted with parents who had children enrolled in five Idaho Head Start programs. The data were coded and analyzed and are reflective of how individual, interpersonal, community, and organizational levels factors are reflected in participants’ decisions to access available nutrition assistance programs. Participants reported feelings of stigma and shame and transportation concerns as individual barriers as well as the interpersonal barrier of a lack of support systems. Lack of awareness of resources, limited food choices, and the questionable quality of foods provided at pantries were noted among the community and organizational deterrents. The results of this study may be used to create interventions that promote food security among Head Start families.