The influence of perceived health status on poor women's confidence in leaving welfare: implications for social work

Soc Work Health Care. 2009;48(1):57-75. doi: 10.1080/00981380802445980.


This article focuses on the realities poor women living in Georgia face in the pursuit of employment. The inquiry focuses on 107 women (84.1% African American, 15.9% white) who were respondents to a survey undertaken by the Welfare Reform Project in Georgia to predict the participants' self-reported confidence in leaving welfare. Predictors of confidence to leave welfare involved health, age, welfare dependency, educational attainment, race, and number of children at home. Health was the strongest predictor, followed by age. Based on Bandura's social cognitive theory, findings suggest that the confidence of female welfare recipients may be greater than can be justified by the realities of their lives and the society in which they live. The article identifies implications for social work including the delivery of social services and counseling for poor women who face complex health issues yet who want to enter the workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Poverty* / ethnology
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Welfare / psychology*
  • White People
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult