Psychometric validation of the household food insecurity access scale among Inuit pregnant women from Northern Quebec

Lisa Teh, Catherine Pirkle, Chris Furgal, Myriam Fillion, Michel Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Globally, food insecurity is a major public health concern. In North America, it is particularly prevalent in certain sub-groups, including Indigenous communities. Although many Indigenous and remote communities harvest and share food, most food security assessment tools focus on economic access. This study describes the psychometric evaluation of a modified Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), developed for mixed economies, to assess food insecurity among pregnant Inuit women. Methods: The HFIAS was administered to 130 pregnant women in Nunavik (Arctic region of Quebec), Canada. Data were fit to a Rasch Rating Scale Model (RSM) to determine the discrimination ability of the HFIAS. Person parameter (Theta) estimates were calculated based on the RSM to provide a more accurate scoring system of the modified HFIAS for this population. Theta values were compared to known correlates of food insecurity. Results: Comparative fit indices showed preference for a modified version of the HFIAS over the original. Theta values displayed a continuum of severity estimates and those values indicating greater food insecurity were consistently linked to known correlates of food insecurity. Participants living in households with more than 1 hunter (Theta = -.45) or more than 1 fisher (Theta = -.43) experienced less food insecurity than those with no hunters (Theta = .48) or fishers (Theta = .49) in their household. The RSM indicated the scale showed good discriminatory ability. Subsequent analyses indicated that most scale items pertain to the classification of a household as moderately food insecure. Conclusions: The modified HFIAS shows potential for measuring food insecurity among pregnant women in Nunavik. This is an efficient instrument that can inform interventions targeting health conditions impacting groups that obtain food through both monetary and non-monetary means.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0178708
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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