The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4088.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 1

Abstract #35549

Barriers to employment among substance-dependent and non-substance-affected women on welfare

Katharine H. McVeigh, PhD, Substance Abuse Research Demonstration Project, Rutgers University Center of Alcohol Studies, 24 Commerce Street, Suite 510, Newark, NJ 07102, 973-297-0620 x105,, Jon Morgenstern, PhD, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 633 Third Ave., 19th Fl, New York, NY 10017, Kimberly A. Blanchard, PhD, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia Univeristy (CASA), 633 Third Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10017, Barbara S. McCrady, PhD, Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers University, 607 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, and Thomas Irwin, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave Levy Place, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029.

OBJECTIVE: To describe differences in the number and characteristics of barriers to employment reported by women on welfare who are substance-dependent as compared with those who do not have a substance-use problem. METHOD: The Barriers to Employment scale (Allen, 1995) was administered to 147 substance-dependent and 55 non-affected female recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) in Essex County, N.J. between June 1999 and September 2000, as part of the Substance Abuse Research Demonstration Project. RESULTS: Substance-dependent women reported an average of 3.49 barriers to employment (range 0-11) as compared to non-affected women who reported only 2.72 barriers on average (range 0-8). The most frequently endorsed barriers among substance-dependent women were their own substance use, inability to find a job, and transportation problems. Non-affected women most frequently endorsed inability to find a job, childcare costs and childcare availability. Twice as many non-affected women identified problems with childcare availability as a problem (42% vs. 21%), while more substance-dependent women identified their own mental health problems (19% vs. 4%) and learning disabilities (7% vs. 0%) as barriers. DISCUSSION: Barriers to employment reported by substance-dependent women are both greater in number and in severity than barriers reported by non-affected women. Interventions to support employment among non-affected women, including assistance in finding a job, improved childcare and transportation assistance may not be sufficient to facilitate employment among substance-dependent women who, in addition to substance abuse treatment, may also require treatment for mental health problems and learning disabilities.

Learning Objectives: After viewing this poster, the reader will be able to

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Welfare Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Special Populations and Substance Abuse Poster Session I

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA