Background and Objectives: The prevalence of mental disorders in the developing countries is estimated between 20 to 50%. Behavioral problems in people suffering from hunger are 2 to 3 times higher than others. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between household food insecurity and adjustment of adolescents.
Materials & Methods: This case-control study was conducted among 246 high school age adolescents and their mothers in 2015. Adjustment Inventory for School Students (AISS) and physical activity questionnaire were completed by the adolescents. Household food insecurity, socio-demographic information and health related quality of life (SF-12) were obtained by asking from the students' mothers. The relationship between food insecurity and adjustment status was assessed by using logistic regression.
Results: The prevalence of food insecurity in the case group was 62.6% and in the control group was 36.6%. There was a significant association between poor adjustment in students and their physical activity, maternal age and mental and physical health (P-value<0.05). Based on logistic regression modeling, the adolescents in food insecure family without hunger had poor adjustment (OR=1.83, p=0.04). If the food insecurity be along with hunger, this relationship will be more (OR=7.15.84, p<0.001). The observed relationship remained significant after adjusting for physical activity, maternal age, maternal physical and mental age, fathers’ education and home status (OR=4.84, p=0.002).
Conclusion: Food insecurity can be accounted as an independent risk factor in behavioral problems, especially emotional, social and educational adjustment.
Keywords: Food insecurity, Adjustment, Socio-emotional, Adolescents