Work attitudes, employment barriers, and mental health symptoms in a sample of rural welfare recipients

Lorraine C. Taylor


Most of the extant research on welfare reform has neglected to consider the experiences of families in rural settings. Fifty women receiving welfare for their dependent children in a rural community were interviewed about their work experiences and aspirations, barriers to employment and service use, as well as mental health and social support. The findings indicate that the majority of participants were connected to the labor force and expressed positive attitudes about work. Barriers to employment (lack of available jobs, child care) and service use (transportation, inconvenient office hours) were endorsed . Perceived social support was negatively related to depression symptoms and positively related to self-efficacy and self-esteem. The importance of understanding the life experiences of welfare recipients in different contexts is discussed.

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