Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Money on My Mind: How Financial Scarcity Affects Dietary Decisions
Authors: Rufin, Teresa
Advisors: Shafir, Eldar
Department: Psychology
Certificate Program: Global Health and Health Policy Program
Class Year: 2017
Abstract: Obesity is currently one of the biggest health crises in the United States, and it disproportionately affects low-income areas of the country at a higher rate. Numerous explanations have been offered to explain the paradox between overfed and undernourished, but few have investigated the influence of stress and cognitive taxation faced by individuals living in financial scarcity. This study aimed to investigate a possible causal relationship between mental strain caused by financial concerns and nutritional choices. 100 visitors to a food pantry in Trenton answered either difficult or easy questions regarding hypothetical financial dilemmas, and were offered a choice of either a low-fat or regular snack while they completed the study. I hypothesize that participants who answered more difficult financial questions would be more likely to choose the regular snack option over participants who answered easier financial questions. Consistent with my prediction, the results showed a significant difference between the easy and difficult groups in how many low fat versus regular snacks they chose. Despite the promise of these results, this study contained a number of limitations and only offers a preliminary investigation into a possible cognitive mechanism attributed to food choices among the poor. However, the findings provide a strong motivation for further research into this relationship.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Global Health and Health Policy Program, 2017-2022
Psychology, 1930-2022

Files in This Item:
File SizeFormat 
Rufin_Teresa.pdf2.32 MBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.