Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Johnson, Kecia R.

Committee Member

Haynes, Stacy H.

Committee Member

Buys, David R.

Committee Member

Hossfeld, Leslie H.

Committee Member

Ralston, Margaret

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


Food insecurity among postsecondary students and especially community colleges is a persistent social problem, but the prevalence continues despite much research. Postsecondary students experience food insecurity slightly differently from the general population and they are held to different rules to qualify for food support such as the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP). In this research I examine the prevalence, frequency, and duration of food insecurity experiences among Mississippi community college students. I begin with a discussion of the literature of food insecurity and policy used to address food insecurity. I draw upon Bourdieu’s theory of social fields, capital, and habitus to frame the experiences community college students navigate in their goal of credentialed human capital. I use an online survey and in-depth interviews to explore the connections between food insecurity, social capital, and cultural capital. I also examine dietary diversity as a predictor of food insecurity. This research found GPA, financial aid, social capital adequacy and adequate dietary diversity, were significant predictors of food insecurity and adequate dietary diversity was a significant predictor of food insecurity frequency. Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.