Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David A. Himmelgreen

Co-Major Professor

Daniel H. Lende


Costa Rica, Food Insecurity, Globalization, Mental Well being, Monteverde, Stress


The rapid expansion of ecotourism in the Monteverde zone of Costa Rica has increased the incidence in food insecurity in the area. Changes in food preferences and availability have led to a more homogenized diet that is increasingly delocalized and reliant on processed foods. Additionally, there has been a rapid economic shift away from agricultural and dairy farming to an economy more reliant on tourism. This NSF supported study builds upon data from a longitudinal investigation (#BNS 0753017) examining the nutritional effects of this rapid economic transition. Using a mixed methods approach, a culturally appropriate scale of stress was developed and used in conjunction with the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, the Cohen Perceived Stress Scale, and the Hopkins Symptom Check List to explore the relationship between food insecurity and mental health among residents of the Monteverde zone. Quantitative results show that food insecurity correlated positively with stress, depression and anxiety, and was found to be a significant predictor of stress and depression