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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Derr, Michelle; McCay, Jonathan; Person, Ann; Anderson, Mary Anne
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well.

    Unfortunately, these approaches have produced mixed results on program participants’ employment outcomes. As a result, in recent years TANF staff have explored new strategies aimed at improving these outcomes.

    New research focused on the role of self-regulation could help. Self-regulation refers to a core set of skills and personality factors that allow people to intentionally control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is what enables all of us to set goals, make plans, solve problems, monitor our actions, and control our impulses. These skills are essential for managing work and family...

    Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well.

    Unfortunately, these approaches have produced mixed results on program participants’ employment outcomes. As a result, in recent years TANF staff have explored new strategies aimed at improving these outcomes.

    New research focused on the role of self-regulation could help. Self-regulation refers to a core set of skills and personality factors that allow people to intentionally control thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It is what enables all of us to set goals, make plans, solve problems, monitor our actions, and control our impulses. These skills are essential for managing work and family activities such as planning morning and after school routines, completing job-related tasks, and engaging in quality parent and child interactions. Successful execution of these skills can lead to better outcomes for children and families.

    In recent years, researchers have explored how the conditions associated with poverty can hinder the development of self-regulation skills. In particular, chronic exposure to high levels of stress can have adverse consequences on self-regulation skills. The effects of this underdevelopment may continue into adulthood. Exposure to chronic stress can even inhibit individuals’ ability to access and use the self-regulation skills they already have.

    The good news is that research also suggests that self-regulation skills can improve throughout a person’s lifetime by deliberately practicing and using them. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Arkin, Monica
    Reference Type: SSRC Products
    Year: 2018

    Posted by Monica Arkin, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Case workers and other practitioners in the welfare system benefit from keeping abreast of new research and clinical approaches when working with clients. One such method that has been around for decades but has only recently been popularized in the field of self-sufficiency is motivational interviewing. Developed in the 1980s by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing was created as an approach to behavioral change particularly for individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Compared with the more traditional dynamic of counselor-patient relationships, which commonly features an expert counselor educating or persuading a less-informed client, motivational interviewing...

    Posted by Monica Arkin, Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse Staff

    Case workers and other practitioners in the welfare system benefit from keeping abreast of new research and clinical approaches when working with clients. One such method that has been around for decades but has only recently been popularized in the field of self-sufficiency is motivational interviewing. Developed in the 1980s by clinical psychologists William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, motivational interviewing was created as an approach to behavioral change particularly for individuals dealing with substance use disorders. Compared with the more traditional dynamic of counselor-patient relationships, which commonly features an expert counselor educating or persuading a less-informed client, motivational interviewing occurs in the context of a partnership where client autonomy is the foundation. Together, the counselor and client engage in a collaborative conversation about identifying problems and solutions, particularly by focusing on barriers to change that are preventing progress toward the client’s goals. Rather than imposing change externally, motivational interviewing seeks to elicit and strengthen an individual’s intrinsic motivation for change.

    Since its initial development in substance abuse treatment spaces, motivational interviewing has proven to be an effective approach for facilitating productive change in various client contexts. With respect to self-sufficiency, studies of TANF-eligible client outcomes have shown that motivational interviewing is a valuable addition to case worker interventions. For example, a six-month follow-up evaluation of 322 randomly selected TANF-eligible clients participating in Kentucky’s Targeted Assessment Program (TAP), which combines motivational interviewing, holistic assessment and strengths-based case management, found medium-to-strong decreases in self-reported barriers to self-sufficiency. These included barriers related to physical health (at six-month follow-up the percentage of participants who had seen a doctor in the previous 12 months decreased, as did the percentage of participants who wanted to see a doctor but reported being unable to), mental health (feeling badly about oneself, having thoughts of self-harm, and feeling worried or anxious), substance use, and intimate partner violence. Additionally, TAP participants reported lower work difficulty and higher employment rates at the time of follow-up.

    Another study found a connection between motivational interviewing and veterans’ self-sufficiency. Eighty-four veterans who had psychiatric disorders and had applied for service-connected compensation were assigned to either a control condition, where they received an orientation to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care system and services, or an experimental condition, where they received four 50-minute sessions of individual counseling that followed a motivational interviewing framework. At a six-month follow up, veterans in the experimental group reported significantly more days of paid employment compared with participants in the control group. This suggests that motivational interviewing may reduce barriers to employment that are associated with disability payments for psychiatric disorders.

    The benefits of motivational interviewing serve the client as well as the practitioner. A qualitative study in Alamance County, North Carolina gathered the perceptions of case workers within the child welfare system that were trained in motivational interviewing. When initial training was supplemented with coaching from clinical coaches, case workers reported that motivational interviewing “helped them deal with difficult issues they encountered, changed-long held perspectives, and provided a new approach to working with families.”

    The SSRC Library contains numerous reports and stakeholder resources about motivational interviewing, including:

    For more resources, check out the SSRC Library and subscribe to the SSRC or follow us on Twitter to receive updates about upcoming events, new library materials on self-sufficiency topics of interest to you and more.

     

  • Individual Author: Richburg-Hayes, Lashawn; Anzelone, Caitlin; Dechausay, Nadine; Datta, Saugato; Fiorillo, Alexandra; Potok, Louis; Darling, Matthew; Balz, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2014

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that a deeper understanding of decision-making and behavior could improve human services program design and outcomes. Research has shown that small changes in the environment can facilitate behaviors and decisions that are in people’s best interest. However, there has been relatively little exploration of the potential application of this science to complex, large-scale human services programs.

    This report, from the early stages of OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, provides an overview of behavioral economics, presents an approach to applying behavioral economics to social programs, shares insights from three case studies in the BIAS project, and concludes with some early lessons that have emerged from the work and next steps for the BIAS project. Additionally, a separate technical supplement to the report provides a description of 12 commonly applied behavioral interventions identified through a review of the literature. (author...

    Insights from behavioral economics, which combines findings from psychology and economics, suggest that a deeper understanding of decision-making and behavior could improve human services program design and outcomes. Research has shown that small changes in the environment can facilitate behaviors and decisions that are in people’s best interest. However, there has been relatively little exploration of the potential application of this science to complex, large-scale human services programs.

    This report, from the early stages of OPRE’s Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, provides an overview of behavioral economics, presents an approach to applying behavioral economics to social programs, shares insights from three case studies in the BIAS project, and concludes with some early lessons that have emerged from the work and next steps for the BIAS project. Additionally, a separate technical supplement to the report provides a description of 12 commonly applied behavioral interventions identified through a review of the literature. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Karlan, Dean; Zinman, Jonathan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Mounting evidence suggests that behavioral factors depress wealth accumulation.  Although much research and policy focuses on asset accumulation, for many households debt decumulation is more efficient.   Yet the mass market for debt reduction services is thin.  So we develop and pilot test Borrow Less Tomorrow (BoLT), a behavioral approach to debt reduction that combines a simple decision aid, social commitment, and reminders.  Results from a sample of free tax-preparation clients with eligible debt in Tulsa (N=465) indicate strong demand for debt reduction: 41% of those offered BoLT used it to make a plan to accelerate debt repayment.  Using random assignment to BoLT offers, we find weak evidence that the BoLT package offered reduces credit card debt. (author abstract)

    Mounting evidence suggests that behavioral factors depress wealth accumulation.  Although much research and policy focuses on asset accumulation, for many households debt decumulation is more efficient.   Yet the mass market for debt reduction services is thin.  So we develop and pilot test Borrow Less Tomorrow (BoLT), a behavioral approach to debt reduction that combines a simple decision aid, social commitment, and reminders.  Results from a sample of free tax-preparation clients with eligible debt in Tulsa (N=465) indicate strong demand for debt reduction: 41% of those offered BoLT used it to make a plan to accelerate debt repayment.  Using random assignment to BoLT offers, we find weak evidence that the BoLT package offered reduces credit card debt. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Glidden, Marc D.; Brown, Timothy C.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    This study examines the level of financial literacy of inmates in Arkansas correctional institutions. Furthermore, it compares the financial knowledge, planning, and practices between not only white and non-white inmates but also between males within and outside of penal institutions. Specifically, this research combines primary data on the financial realities of those within correctional institutions and existing statistics on the public to examine the relationship between demographics, banking history, use of non-traditional lenders, and financial literacy. While prior literature on the public is extensive, research on the financial literacy of individuals currently incarcerated is sparse. Findings indicate vast differences between the public and those within penal institutions, particularly in financial knowledge and planning. For our incarcerated sample we find similar disparities between our white and non-white respondents. Last, we find that youth, minority status, and lowered education are predictors of lower financial knowledge, use of predatory lender use, and poor...

    This study examines the level of financial literacy of inmates in Arkansas correctional institutions. Furthermore, it compares the financial knowledge, planning, and practices between not only white and non-white inmates but also between males within and outside of penal institutions. Specifically, this research combines primary data on the financial realities of those within correctional institutions and existing statistics on the public to examine the relationship between demographics, banking history, use of non-traditional lenders, and financial literacy. While prior literature on the public is extensive, research on the financial literacy of individuals currently incarcerated is sparse. Findings indicate vast differences between the public and those within penal institutions, particularly in financial knowledge and planning. For our incarcerated sample we find similar disparities between our white and non-white respondents. Last, we find that youth, minority status, and lowered education are predictors of lower financial knowledge, use of predatory lender use, and poor financial planning among inmates. This is crucial because low levels of financial literacy, use of predatory lenders, and poor financial planning often provide barriers to asset accumulation, which increases the probability of incarceration and recidivism. (Author abstract)

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