Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

David H. Holben

Relational Format



Background: Grit is the determination and resolve required for accomplishing long term goals.

Research Outcome: This study examined: 1) differences in grit by household food security status; and 2) relationship between grit and household food security status among female caregivers of elementary school children in a rural, Appalachian Mississippi county after participation in a produce voucher intervention.

Methods: Female caregivers (n=1,144) were recruited at three elementary schools in MS in November 2017 and enrolled into a produce voucher intervention ($11/week over 10 weeks). Validated measures of household food security status (10-item USDA survey) and grit score (8-item Duckworth survey) were measured at both pre- and post-intervention.

Analysis: Differences in grit between food security groups were assessed using independent samples t-tests. Relationship between grit and household food security status was assessed using Pearson r correlation.

Results: Female caregivers (n=185) responded to pre-survey [185/1084, 17.1% response rate], with 76/185 completing both pre- and post-surveys (41.1%). Overall response rate was 7.0% (76/1084). Participants were 37 ± 9 years (n=73), primarily Caucasian (n=54/75, 72.0%), and living in fully food secure households (n=50/76, 65.8%). Post grit score was 3.8 ± 0.5 (Range: 2.4-4.7) and was significantly higher among those living in fully food secure households

(3.8 ± 0.5), compared to those living in non-fully food secure households (3.6 ± 0.5) (t-test, p=.040). Grit score was significantly associated with number of positive household food security responses (Pearson r=-.271, p=.018), with higher grit being associated with better household food security.

Conclusions: Grit is associated with food security among female caregivers of children in Mississippi. Exploring interventions that improve grit is warranted and may be a solution to improving food insecurity.

Included in

Food Security Commons



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