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Abstracts from Volume 38, Number 4
(December, 2011)



IMPACT OF SOCIAL CAPITAL ON EMPLOYMENT AND MARRIAGE AMONG LOW INCOME SINGLE MOTHERS
Jennifer A. Johnson, Julie A. Honnold, and Perry Threlfall

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA, P. L. 104–93) called primarily on women to achieve two goals: work and/or marriage. For low income single mothers with limited access to capital, the PRWORA presents a quagmire in that the public safety nets previously guaranteed by the policies of the New Deal were abruptly supplanted by policies with obligations that require various forms of capital. Using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing dataset, we examine the impact of social capital on the chances of marriage and employment among single, unemployed mothers. We find that social capital increases a woman’s chances of both marriage and stable employment, but the social capital must be expansive in order to challenge significant social disadvantage. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of social capital as a precursor to upward social mobility for low-income mothers as opposed to simply getting ‘off of welfare.’

EMERGENCY ROOM USE BY UNDOCUMENTED MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS
Ayse Akincigil, Raymond Sanchez Mayers, and
Fontaine H. Fulghum

This study examined emergency room use by undocumented Mexican immigrants and their sources of health care information. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents reported that they would use a hospital emergency room (ER) for primary medical care. ER use rates declined with time spent in the United States. Emergency room use rates varied significantly by region. Respondents receiving information from a church reported less ER use, compared to all others; respondents receiving information from U.S. newspapers reported higher ER use rates. Lack of health care access for undocumented immigrants remains a public health issue as well as a social justice concern.

IF NOT WELFARE, THEN WHAT? HOW SINGLE MOTHERS FINANCE COLLEGE POST-WELFARE REFORM
Kristin Wilson

The article follows previous work on TANF and AFDC by asking if not welfare, then what social programs and financial aid programs are low-income women using to support their college attendance, and what is the impact of these programs on the college-going decisions of low-income women? The study is based on case studies of 10 low-income women attending a community college. Results indicated that EITC, food stamps, and subsidized housing are stable sources of funding. However, each of these programs requires different application processes and compliance regulations. Only the Pell Grant was viewed as a dependable source of funding for college costs. Participants expressed confusion and frustration over the many varying regulations amongst programs.

HEALTH SERVICE ACCESS FOR RURAL PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS IN CHINA: A CRITICAL EVALUATION
Xiying Wang, Xiulan Zhang, Yuebin Xu, and Yurong Zhang

The increasingly serious HIV/AIDS epidemic creates a significant burden for the public health system; however, little attention has been paid to the issue of health service access in rural China. Based on a qualitative study of 34 Chinese rural People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and 13 health providers, this study fills a gap by examining health service access from both the demand and supply-side. Utilizing access theory, this study explores the availability, affordability and acceptability of health services in rural China. Moreover, this study focuses on access barriers and institutional obstacles that PLWHA meet during their illness and considers the influence of the current Chinese political philosophy of marketization and privatization of the health care systems.

FOOD STAMPS AND DEPENDENCY: DISENTANGLING THE SHORT-TERM AND LONG-TERM ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF FOOD STAMP RECEIPT AND LOW INCOME FOR YOUNG MOTHERS
Thomas P. Vartanian, Linda Houser, and Joseph Harkness

The Food Stamp Program (FSP) remains one of the most widely used of all U.S. social “safety net” programs. While a substantial body of research has developed around the primary goals of the program—improving food access, nutrition, and health among low-income families—less attention has been paid to the broader goals of hardship and poverty reduction. Using 38 years of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we examine several immediate and longer-term economic outcomes of early adult FSP participation for a sample of 3,848 young mothers. While FSP participation is associated with some negative outcomes in the immediate future in areas including family income-to-needs and transfer income, such effects are substantially reduced or disappear over the long run. These results suggest that concerns about the adverse economic effects of assistance, based solely on short-term outcomes or outcomes measured at a single point in time, do not hold for the long run. We find no evidence that food stamp recipients in early motherhood are any more or less dependent on public assistance programs than other young mothers who have low income but do not use food stamps.

DOING A LITTLE MORE FOR THE POOR? SOCIAL ASSISTANCE IN SHANGHAI
Zhang Haomiao

Shanghai was a leader in nation-wide social assistance reform. It has established an extensive and complex social assistance system. This paper offers a general overview of different major assistance programs in Shanghai and uses a recent survey of Minimum Living Standard Guarantee System (MLSGS) recipients in urban Shanghai to briefly examine the performance of social assistance. It finds that on the program construction and administration level, Shanghai’s social assistance is advanced. However, due to high living costs and relatively low values of social assistance, social assistance plays a limited role in relieving the distress of recipients. The paper analyzes the main reasons for this and argues that efforts should be made to give the poor more assistance and help them to get rid of poverty.


CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK AND THE BIOMEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
Tomi Gomory, Stephen E. Wong, David Cohen, and Jeffrey R. Lacasse

This article examines how the biomedical industrial complex has ensnared social work within a foreign conceptual and practice model that distracts clinical social workers from the special assistance that they can provide for people with mental distress and misbehavior. We discuss: (1) social work’s assimilation of psychiatric perspectives and practices during its pursuit of professional status; (2) the persistence of psychiatric hospitalization despite its coercive methods, high cost, and doubtful efficacy; (3) the increasing reliance on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, despite its widely acknowledged scientific frailty; and (4) the questionable contributions of psychoactive drugs to clinical mental health outcomes and their vast profits for the pharmaceutical industry, using antipsychotic drugs as a case example. We review a number of promising social work interventions overshadowed by the biomedical approach. We urge social work and other helping professions to exercise intellectual independence from the reigning paternalistic drug-centered biomedical ideology in mental health and to rededicate themselves to the supportive, educative, and problem-solving methods unique to their disciplines.


BOOK REVIEWS

A Note from the Editors.
Marguerite G. Rosenthal & Jennifer R. Zelnick.

The Study of Well-being, Social Policy and the Welfare State: A Review Essay. The Oxford Handbook of the Welfare State.
Francis G. Castles, Stephan Leibfried, Jane Lewis,
Herbert Obinger & Christopher Pierson (Eds.).
Reviewed by James Midgley.

Poor Women in Rich Countries: The Feminization of Poverty over the Life Course. Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg (Ed.).
Reviewed by Jennifer R. Zelnick.

Child Protection Systems: International Trends and Orientations.
Neil Gilbert, Nigel Parton, & Marit Skivenes, (Eds.).
Reviewed by Dorinda N. Noble.

Ill Fares the Land.
Tony Judt.
Reviewed by Marguerite G. Rosenthal.

Contesting Community: The Limits and Potential of Local Organizing.
James DeFilippis, Robert Fisher, & Eric Shragge.
Reviewed by Nancy Giunta.

Social Work & Restorative Justice: Skills for Dialogue, Peacemaking, and Reconciliation.
Elizabeth Beck, Nancy P. Kropf & Pamela Blume Leonard (Eds.).
Reviewed by Robert McAndrews.

Politics and Partnerships: The Role of Voluntary Associations in America’s Political Past and Present.
Elisabeth Clemens & Doug Guthrie (Eds.).
Reviewed by John G. McNutt.

Mexican Voices of the Border Region.
Laura Velasco Ortiz & Oscar F. Contreras (Eds.).
Reviewed by Aviva Chomsky.

Index of Volume XXXVIII, 2011

 

 

 

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