Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Barragán, Armando


The focus of this research study was the impact of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the mental health, specifically anxiety and depression, of students pursuing higher education. The study analyzed if food security from receiving SNAP benefits relieved mental illnesses for students pursuing higher education. This study utilized a post-positivist paradigm. The data was obtained through qualitative methods, including 14 audio interviews and verbal observations of current undergraduate and graduate students from Southern California. At the time that the research interviews were conducted, the students participated in the student and discussed their experiences of dealing with mental health symptoms due to food insecurity and the impact that SNAP benefits had on it. The research participants answers were the coded for themes and then categorized. The study’s results concluded that mental disorder symptoms negatively affect students school Performance, CalFresh benefits support mental health, and there is social support for CalFresh awareness. This research study contributes to the social work field on a micro and macro level. At the micro level, this study allows social workers to better understand the significance of SNAP in alleviating hunger for college students and how receiving those SNAP benefits affects their mental health. At the macro level, this study has the potential to persuade social workers to lobby and advocate for policies and legislations that will address food insecurity among college students and increase student eligibility for and access to SNAP benefits.