Moving substance-abusing women from welfare to work

Lisa R. Metsch, Clyde B. Mc Coy, Michael Miller, Heather Mc Anany, Margaret Rose Pereyra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Substance abuse and welfare reform are among the nation's highest priorities, and research that examines linkages between the two is of extreme importance to both government policy and the community. Welfare reform will have serious implications for substance abusers as well as for the various professionals who treat them and work to move their clients into functional recovery and self-sufficiency. Within the context of welfare reform and the special needs of substance-abusing populations, the present study examines current welfare status, work status, and barriers and facilitators to gaining and maintaining employment among 100 low income women who participated in a long-term residential substance-abuse treatment program in Miami, Florida. Participants completed a face-to-face interview to assess a detailed employment history and current sources of income as well as the Addiction Severity Index. Results indicate that completers of the treatment program were more likely to be working post-discharge than non-completers. Similarly, the longer the length of stay in the program, the more likely the client was to be working post-discharge. Multivariate analysis indicates a high-school education, participation in the treatment center's aftercare program, and treatment duration of more than one year were independently related to work status. These data suggest that as welfare reform becomes a reality, continuing support of various types, particularly drug treatment, is needed to assist substance-abusing women in gaining and maintaining employment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-55
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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