Although household food insecurity (HFI) has been associated with depressive symptoms in youth and young adults (YYA) with youth-onset diabetes, little is known about the association of HFI with other mental health comorbidities. We examined the association of HFI with stress and anxiety symptoms among YYA with diabetes using cross-sectional data from the SEARCH Food Security Cohort study (assessments conducted 2018-2020; n = 1030, age =23.8± 0.3, female =58.8%, type 1 diabetes (T1D) = 881, type 2 diabetes (T2D) =149) . HFI was defined as 3+ affirmations on the USDA Household Food Security Survey Module. The Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) and Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-14) were used to assess outcomes of anxiety (score range 0-21) and stress (score range 0-56) , higher scores indicating greater anxiety or stress. Linear regression models were adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, site, diabetes duration, parental education, income, and whether assessment was completed pre/post the coronavirus pandemic. Analyses were stratified by diabetes type. HFI was present in 17.3% of T1D and 35.6 % of T2D. Moderate/severe anxiety symptom scores (range 10-21) were found in 27.5 % (mean=6.9, s.d. =5.5) of T1D and 40.9% (mean=8.4, s.d. =6.5) of T2D. Mean stress scores were 26.7 (s.d.=6.3) for T1D and 27.9 (s.d.=6.3) for T2D. In T1D, HFI was associated with higher anxiety (β=4.8, p=<0.0001) and stress (β=4.9, p=<0.0001) symptom scores compared to those with food security adjusted for covariates. Among T2D, HFI was associated with greater anxiety symptoms (β=2.8, p=0.0247) but no association was observed with stress. These findings suggest that assessing and alleviating HFI may help improve stress and anxiety among YYA with diabetes, and further study is warranted to determine associations over time.


A.D.Brown: n/a. S.M.Marcovina: None. C.Pihoker: None. A.D.Liese: None. J.A.Mendoza: None. E.A.Frongillo: None. K.Flory: None. B.A.Reboussin: None. E.T.Jensen: Consultant; Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. L.M.Dolan: None. A.Bellatorre: None. F.Malik: n/a.


NIH/NIDDK (1R01DK117461-01) ; NIH/NIDDK/CDC (1UC4DK108173) ; NIH/NIGMS (T32-GM081740)

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at