A Mixed-Methods Approach to the Development of a Disaster Food Security Framework

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics








COVID-19; disasters; food security; framework; hurricane


BACKGROUND: Limited research on food systems and food insecurity (FI) following disasters finds contextual differences in post-disaster food systems that shape dimensions of FI. Measurement limitations make it difficult to address FI and develop effective practices for disaster-affected communities. OBJECTIVE: To develop, validate, and test a Disaster Food Security Framework (DFSF). DESIGN: Mixed-methods approach was used, including in-depth interviews to understand lived experiences during disasters; expert panel input to validate DFSF designed using responses from in-depth interviews; and quantitative testing of robustness of DFSF using the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic as a disaster example. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING: The in-depth interviews included participants from Vermont (n = 5), North Carolina (n = 3), and Oklahoma (n = 2) who had been living in those states during Hurricane Irene (2011), Hurricane Florence (2018), the Moore tornadoes (2013), and coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (2020). The expert panel consisted of researchers and practitioners from different US geographical regions and food-related disciplines (n = 18). For the quantitative testing survey, data from 4 US states (New York, New Mexico, Vermont, and Maryland; n = 3,228) from the National Food Access and COVID Research Team was used. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The outcomes from the in-depth interviews were dimensions of disaster FI, those from the expert panel was a content validity ratio, and those from the quantitative testing was the number of items and components to be included. ANALYSES PERFORMED: Inductive and deductive reasoning were using when reporting on the in-depth interviews and expert panel results, including frequencies. The quantitative testing was conducted using multiple correspondence analysis. RESULTS: The in-depth interviews revealed four dimensions of FI: availability (supply and donation), accessibility (economic, physical, and social), acceptability (preference and health), and agency (infrastructure and self-efficacy). The panel of experts reported high content validity for the DFSF and its dimensions (content validity ratio >0.42), thus giving higher credibility to the DFSF. Multiple correspondence analysis performed on 25 food-related variables identified one component with 13 indicators representing three of the four dimensions: availability, acceptability, and accessibility, but not agency.


Global Health