Women on Welfare: Violence, Alcohol Use, Service Use and Welfare Trajectory

Investigator: Laura Schmidt, PhD
Sponsor: Public Health Institute

Location(s): United States


Several studies have described a high prevalence of violent victimization among women on welfare, but few have documented the impact of violence and problem drinking and/or heavy drug use (substance abuse) as impediments to self-sufficiency among poor women. This information is necessary to inform and target public health prevention, treatment and community interventions. This project uses secondary data from a large representative sample of welfare recipients to describe use of health and social services among women reporting interpersonal violence and substance abuse over five years to explore whether service use decreases repeat violence, substance abuse and welfare dependency. The study utilizes data from a five-year longitudinal study of welfare clients from a Northern California county. The analyses will be carried out at a time when the welfare rolls have dropped dramatically and there is growing interest in the remaining clients who may have multiple barriers to employment, including histories of violent victimization and substance abuse.