Abstract: Development of the Food Abuse Scale (FAS) for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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110P Development of the Food Abuse Scale (FAS) for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Thursday, January 12, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Sidney Brandhorst, BS, Doctoral Student, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ
Dessie Clark, PhD, Director of Curriculum Development & Implementation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

Background and purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) and food insecurity are two leading public health issues that disproportionately impact women in the United States. While numerous studies identify a link between food security and IPV, the mechanisms which connect these two public health issues remain open to question. Building on a previously done pilot study and review of the literature, we build and test the Food Abuse Scale (FAS), which can help us measure food abuse such as a\preventing access to food, dictating the quality or quantity of food, or make demands around food that lead to further physical, sexual, or emotional violence. Understanding this relationship is crucial as communities and agencies work toward better understanding how to more effectively care for women.

Methods: Participants were invited via flyer at a domestic violence agency in the southern United States to participate in an online survey. Sixty-six individuals participated in the anonymous survey which included the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module: Six-Item Short Form, the Food Abuse Scale (FAS) and other important well-being and safety scales. The data were cleaned and analyzed in SPSS.

Results: A principle components analysis with direct oblimin rotation was used in order to assess the underlying factor structure for the FAS. The internal consistency of the FAS was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha and the FAS had a reliability coefficient of .973. Validity was assessed using Pearson’s correlation which showed a strong degree of correlation between the FAS and the Food Security Survey (r(39) = .50, p = <.001). An ordinal regression also suggested a significant linear relationship with the FAS predicting higher levels of food insecurity. A posthoc power analysis found a large effect size (.93).

Conclusions and Implications: This study has important implications for how we understand and serve survivors of IPV. First, the development of a scale will help those studying intimate partner violence to assess the ways in which abusers are using food and food aid to harm their intimate partners. Second, it sheds light on the specific ways that survivors’ well-being and food security can be improved. Third, this work suggests that food be a higher priority in considering how organizations and frontline workers support survivors given the way that food abuse pose threats to safety both through violence escalation and threats to nutrition.