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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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  • Individual Author: Bush, Janet
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2009

    The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between fertility and household economy on Montana’s Northern Plains. Low fertility and outmigration in European American communities have led to dramatic depopulation of the region. At the same time, isolated Indian reservations in the area have grown in population due to high fertility and return migration.

    A mixed methods research approach was used to explore the relationship between fertility and social acceptance of communal household economic strategies. Census data and birth records described differences in fertility and household economy between European American and Native American populations in six Plains Indian reservation counties; inferential tests demonstrated patterns of variation among fertility and economic variables in 37 rural counties. Qualitative ethnographic data were collected in two representative communities, one predominately European American and one predominately Native American, documenting individual beliefs and actions that reflected and reinforced community themes of ideal fertility...

    The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between fertility and household economy on Montana’s Northern Plains. Low fertility and outmigration in European American communities have led to dramatic depopulation of the region. At the same time, isolated Indian reservations in the area have grown in population due to high fertility and return migration.

    A mixed methods research approach was used to explore the relationship between fertility and social acceptance of communal household economic strategies. Census data and birth records described differences in fertility and household economy between European American and Native American populations in six Plains Indian reservation counties; inferential tests demonstrated patterns of variation among fertility and economic variables in 37 rural counties. Qualitative ethnographic data were collected in two representative communities, one predominately European American and one predominately Native American, documenting individual beliefs and actions that reflected and reinforced community themes of ideal fertility.

    Findings delineated value constellations that supported culturally specific fertility ideals. European American informants idealized delayed parenthood, childrearing within a nuclear family setting, household self-sufficiency, and avoidance of public assistance. In contrast, Native American informants idealized early parenthood, childrearing within an extended family setting, mutually dependent extended family households, and acceptance of tribal assistance without stigmatization.

    Analyses of state and tribal TANF programs and teen pregnancy prevention initiatives illustrate culturally specific approaches to public policy that influence fertility behaviors. State and federal programs reinforce dominant culture ideals of delayed parenthood and nuclear family self-sufficiency; they pathologize Native American patterns of family formation by removing parenthood from the context of community. Some tribes have assumed administration of TANF and adapted the program in order to preserve traditional childrearing practices and maintain family-building systems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holland, Deborah Evelyn
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2007

    This study examined the issues of barriers and employment retention in a rural county welfare-to-work setting, the Missoula, Montana WoRC Program. Qualitative research (study one) was conducted, to interview clients regarding reasons why they had lost jobs in the past, and, to elicit their suggestions regarding new services the WoRC Program could offer to help with employment retention at future jobs. Study one results indicated that the primary barriers resulting in job loss were: family issues; medical problems; mental health disorders; work site difficulties; and other (i.e. boredom, attitude problems). Work adjustment proved to be an underlying barrier to employment retention. Study one results demonstrated that the clients wanted three primary services to help resolve barriers and improve job retention: life skills classes teaching work adjustment; job coaching; and post-TANF supportive services (i.e. clothing and gas vouchers). Quantitative research (study two) was conducted to analyze 90 variables via logistic regression and determine whether or not the WoRC Program...

    This study examined the issues of barriers and employment retention in a rural county welfare-to-work setting, the Missoula, Montana WoRC Program. Qualitative research (study one) was conducted, to interview clients regarding reasons why they had lost jobs in the past, and, to elicit their suggestions regarding new services the WoRC Program could offer to help with employment retention at future jobs. Study one results indicated that the primary barriers resulting in job loss were: family issues; medical problems; mental health disorders; work site difficulties; and other (i.e. boredom, attitude problems). Work adjustment proved to be an underlying barrier to employment retention. Study one results demonstrated that the clients wanted three primary services to help resolve barriers and improve job retention: life skills classes teaching work adjustment; job coaching; and post-TANF supportive services (i.e. clothing and gas vouchers). Quantitative research (study two) was conducted to analyze 90 variables via logistic regression and determine whether or not the WoRC Program assisted clients with gaining employment, and if so, what the characteristics of those clients were. The results of the logistic regression indicated that the WoRC Program helped clients gain employment exactly 50% of the time. Statistically significant variables for clients that gained employment were: study one participant; female; on TANF 4+ months; final status (case closed at time of study); merit (not sanctioned); no short term training months; no learning disability; no domestic violence; and no chemical dependency. Linear regression was utilized to determine whether or not the employment WoRC clients gained paid better than the minimum wage. The results of the linear regression demonstrated that the mean wage for the employed study two clients was $7.16/hr. The Federal minimum wage at the time of the study was $5.15/hr. To place this study in context, the literature review traced the development of the welfare system from ancient times to the present day, with special emphasis on the topics of cycling, barriers and retention, as well as intangible factors that may have contributed to the study results. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hartzell, Sarah L.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2007

    Welfare recipients have always been stigmatized. The welfare reform legislation of 1996 reflects widespread attitudes and stereotypes of welfare recipients, which are translated into the structure of state welfare programs and are carried down through the administration to the welfare caseworker—the “face” of welfare for recipients. Literature on welfare stigma has focused on clients, but not their caseworkers. Using qualitative methods, this paper presents a Goffmanian analysis of the effects of welfare stigma on these caseworkers, who not only interact with clients in their jobs everyday, but who also implement a stigmatizing social program. The caseworkers in this study constructed a continuum of normalcy in reference to their clients, as they tried to manage their involvement and interaction with stigmatized persons who could easily be themselves. Their attempts to manage welfare stigma influence their interactions with clients and consequentially, the outcomes of welfare programs themselves. (author abstract)

    Welfare recipients have always been stigmatized. The welfare reform legislation of 1996 reflects widespread attitudes and stereotypes of welfare recipients, which are translated into the structure of state welfare programs and are carried down through the administration to the welfare caseworker—the “face” of welfare for recipients. Literature on welfare stigma has focused on clients, but not their caseworkers. Using qualitative methods, this paper presents a Goffmanian analysis of the effects of welfare stigma on these caseworkers, who not only interact with clients in their jobs everyday, but who also implement a stigmatizing social program. The caseworkers in this study constructed a continuum of normalcy in reference to their clients, as they tried to manage their involvement and interaction with stigmatized persons who could easily be themselves. Their attempts to manage welfare stigma influence their interactions with clients and consequentially, the outcomes of welfare programs themselves. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schupp, Justin
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2014

    Participation in the local food movement has grown dramatically in the United States with the farmers’ market being one of its most widespread and heavily promoted forums (Gillespie 2007). Movement proponents have hailed this shift from “conventional” food production as a tactic that introduces more environmentally sustainable and socially just outcomes for society. In this light, proponents have argued that the interactions and transactions that occur at farmers’ markets benefit market participants, but, more importantly, have broader benefits for the neighborhoods they are located in and for society itself (Lyson 2007). Quite differently, research on food deserts, places that have limited to no access to the conventional food system and high levels of poverty, has documented these areas to be plagued by numerous social ills at both the individual and neighborhood level. For example, an extensive body of research has shown that the individuals living in these areas have diets that deviate substantially from what is considered to be nutritional and that neighborhoods, on average...

    Participation in the local food movement has grown dramatically in the United States with the farmers’ market being one of its most widespread and heavily promoted forums (Gillespie 2007). Movement proponents have hailed this shift from “conventional” food production as a tactic that introduces more environmentally sustainable and socially just outcomes for society. In this light, proponents have argued that the interactions and transactions that occur at farmers’ markets benefit market participants, but, more importantly, have broader benefits for the neighborhoods they are located in and for society itself (Lyson 2007). Quite differently, research on food deserts, places that have limited to no access to the conventional food system and high levels of poverty, has documented these areas to be plagued by numerous social ills at both the individual and neighborhood level. For example, an extensive body of research has shown that the individuals living in these areas have diets that deviate substantially from what is considered to be nutritional and that neighborhoods, on average, have worse health outcomes compared to neighborhoods not considered to be food desert. While the effects of living in a food desert are fairly well known, much less is known about the efforts to alleviate the situation. One such proscription that has been suggested to contribute to better food access in food deserts has been the previously mentioned local foods movement, particularly its farmers’ market tactic.

    The promise of benefits by the local food movement to society generally and to food deserts specifically raises several important questions, notably: where are farmers’ markets located and who has access to them? While the movements popularity and tactical development has been lauded in the media and academia, few works have examined farmers’ markets locations nationally and little evidence exists to systematically describe the neighborhoods they are in or the individuals that live close by. This dissertation begins this conversation by examining the efficacy of the farmers’ market, the flagship facet of the local foods movement, is at reaching its stated goals, particularly the cultivating the access for the democratization of food access. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Pratt-Ronco, Elyse
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2009

    This study asked low-income adolescents from rural communities directly how they define success, resilience, and progress. More specifically, it assessed the ways in which rural youth and their families are resilient and identifies the main obstacles they face. This study used the participatory method of Interpretive Focus Groups (IFGs). Together with the researcher, participants examined photographs taken in a previous study (Pratt-Ronco & Coley, 2006), along with transcripts of previous interviews. The data analysis was directed at gaining a better understanding of what resilience and social mobility mean to the adolescents in the sample and identifying the barriers that beset adolescents living in rural poverty. This methodology is a good fit for these questions because the answers lie in the adolescents' perspectives of their worlds. All too often, adults (academics, teachers, families, and the government) decide what it means to be successful, socially mobile, or resilient. This study asked adolescents to define these terms and thereby gives insight to the complexity of...

    This study asked low-income adolescents from rural communities directly how they define success, resilience, and progress. More specifically, it assessed the ways in which rural youth and their families are resilient and identifies the main obstacles they face. This study used the participatory method of Interpretive Focus Groups (IFGs). Together with the researcher, participants examined photographs taken in a previous study (Pratt-Ronco & Coley, 2006), along with transcripts of previous interviews. The data analysis was directed at gaining a better understanding of what resilience and social mobility mean to the adolescents in the sample and identifying the barriers that beset adolescents living in rural poverty. This methodology is a good fit for these questions because the answers lie in the adolescents' perspectives of their worlds. All too often, adults (academics, teachers, families, and the government) decide what it means to be successful, socially mobile, or resilient. This study asked adolescents to define these terms and thereby gives insight to the complexity of working with these youth.

    In addition to the Interpretive Focus Groups, thirteen educators were interviewed. The purpose of the educator interviews was to gain a better understanding of how school personnel perceived the problem of rural poverty. This information allowed for triangulation of the data, as well as a way to look for disconnects between teachers and students.

    The findings of this study shed light on an understudied population. There are two overarching themes which categorize the data collected: pervasive poverty and hope and resilience. The adolescents at the center of this research were surrounded by want and deprivation. They were isolated from resources, opportunities, and wealth. The reality of just how much adversity rural poor youth face on a daily basis is disconcerting. However, they showed great resilience, hope, and a "grittiness" that came from their rural poor existence. (author abstract)

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