The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3243.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 1:45 PM

Abstract #63191

Poor women on the edge: Alcohol abuse, racial differences, and welfare

Julia F. Hastings, MSW, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, 1080 South University, Room B660, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106, (734) 615-2103,

Women receiving welfare who are alcohol dependent are underdiagnosed, and therefore remain untreated. And, although a growing body of literature establishes that alcohol abuse among welfare recipients affects employment abilities, it is unclear whether this problem and its consequences differ by race. This study examined 603 African American and White current and former welfare recipients across three-waves of the Women's Employment Study to determine whether racial differences in alcohol dependence rates, subclinical alcohol dependence symptoms, and correlates of alcohol abuse caused change over time. No significant racial differences in alcohol dependence rates or subclinical alcohol dependence symptoms were found. African American women had significantly lower rates of subclinical alcohol symptoms. Hierarchical Linear Modeling revealed that race and the mental health of the respondent's mother significantly decreased the number of substance abuse symptoms reported over time. High stress related significantly to increasing reports of alcohol symptoms over time, but neither race or the respondents' mothers' depression played significant contextual roles. Exposure to environmental stressors may increase the risk of alcohol abuse among African American women facing welfare regulations, and social workers should identify strategies to respond given cuts in services. Session participants will be able to: 1) describe welfare research findings on racial differences in the prevalence and correlates of substance abuse; 2) identify social and environmental barriers to self-sufficiency faced by poor African American women with alcohol abuse problems; and 3) discuss the implications of cutbacks in health and social services on poor African American women with substance abuse problems.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: African American, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
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.

Impact of Welfare Reform on Families and Children

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA