Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Food security; Older men--Services for;


The purpose of the qualitative study was to explore the relationship between the male elder’s experience of food insecurity and the utilization of food assistance programs. Particular emphasis was placed on the meaning the men ascribe to their experiences in accessing food. In the review of the literature, the determinants of food insecurity, especially for the elder male population, were identified as having important implications for fulfilling food needs. Additionally, distinct characteristics of men, along with how they view their needs, surfaced as impacting their food insecurity. This study utilized participant observation and in-depth interviews with five elder men who had and/or have experiences with food insecurity. The first research question focused on how the men described their experiences with food insecurity, revealing that being poor was pervasive in their memories and thoughts. The men described how their pride contributed to their reluctance to utilize food assistance when responding to the second research question regarding what they view as the perceived barriers to seeking help and utilizing assistance. The theoretical framework that served as the lens through which these descriptions and perceptions were examined was the attribution theory (Weiner, 2000). A stigmatizing condition (poor), a cause (family resources), a responsibility antecedent (uncontrollability), and a response (survivor) provided the foundation for understanding how the men made sense of their experiences and how they view their situations today.

Several recommendations to address the barriers reported by the elder men were suggested. Future research using the qualitative approach is recommended in order to increase understanding of the meaning of experiences of elder men in times of food insecurity. Additionally, there is a need to learn more about the men in this age group as they have different values from other generations. Further, those tasked with assisting this cohort of elder men must appreciate the role pride plays in how they approach situations such as food insecurity and whether or not they utilize assistance.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

Amy Petersen

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (viii, 165 pages)



File Format