Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program

Human Nutrition

Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Simone Camel

Committee Member

Matthew Hayes

Committee Member

Monique Constance-Huggins


Poverty, Food Security, SNAP Challenge, Dietetics, Social Work, Education


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether a week-long SNAP Challenge completed by university participants influenced perceptions about poverty. Design: Pretest and posttest questionnaires measured changes in attitudes toward poverty after the SNAP Challenge using the Attitude Toward Poverty Short Form scale comprised of three factors: Personal Deficiency, Stigma, and Structural Perspective. Dispositional empathy was measured with the Interpersonal Reactivity Index and analyzed as a potential mediating variable of attitude change. Subjects: Student and non-student subjects were recruited from Winthrop University. Four hundred forty-six pretest questionnaires were initiated, 363 were completed, and 363 were eligible for inclusion. One hundred forty-three posttest questionnaires were initiated, 121 were completed, and 117 were eligible for inclusion. Eighty matched pairs met study inclusion criteria.

Results: Attitudes toward poverty related to Stigma, but not Personal Deficiency or Structural Perspective improved significantly (t(79) = -3.421, p = .001, d = 0.38). There was no correlation between days participants completed the SNAP Challenge and changes in attitudes toward poverty. Human Nutrition participants did not differ from other participants in the magnitude of attitude change observed. Empathy did not mediate the relationship between the SNAP Challenge experience and attitude change. Conclusion: The SNAP Challenge improved attitudes related to Stigma. It offers a unique experiential learning method for broadening perspectives about poverty. The Challenge should be integrated with classroom teaching about poverty and re-evaluated.


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Nutrition Commons