Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Melva Thompson-Robinson

Second Committee Member

Carolee Dodge-Francis

Third Committee Member

Sheila Clark

Fourth Committee Member

Sara Hunt

Number of Pages



African Americans have the highest rates of food insecurity than any other racial/ethnic group in the nation as a result of poverty, low household income, unemployment, food injustice, food mirages, and racial segregation. This consistent uncertainty in food access demonstrably results in poor mental health outcomes for food-insecure African Americans. Thus, the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping provides a theoretical framework to investigate how African Americans cope with food insecurity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate processes of coping with food insecurity and determine their impact on emotional well-being for African Americans in Clark County, Nevada. A total of 495 clients accessing emergency food services in Clark County completed pencil and paper surveys between August and December 2019. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 25 to present multiple regression models, Pearson correlations, mediation models, and two-way ANOVA calculations. The results demonstrated that the majority of African Americans (81.7%) were food insecure and over half of them (53.6%) were depressed. African Americans primarily utilized positive reappraisal (M = 4.69, SD = 2.95) as a way to cope with food insecurity. Primary appraisal (B = 0.100, p < 0.001) and race (B = -0.799, p = 0.007) had a significant impact on positive reappraisal. Furthermore, positive reappraisal significantly mediated the relationship between food insecurity and depression (95% CI: [0.01, 0.57]) for African Americans. These findings provide an understanding of how African Americans in Clark County cope with food insecurity and suggests the need for a faith-based intervention to improve their mental health outcomes.


African Americans; Depression; Emergency Food; Food Insecurity; Mental Health; Transactional Model of Stress and Coping


African American Studies | American Studies | Mental and Social Health | Public Health | Race and Ethnicity

File Format


File Size

1.7 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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