Dynamics of material hardship in the Women's Employment Study

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37 Scopus citations


An abundance of literature examines the dynamics of poverty, but little research considers the dynamics of material hardship. This work analyzes data from a welfare sample to determine how common experiences of material hardship are over time, if some forms of material hardship are more common than others, and if women experience multiple hardships. Data come from five waves of the Women's Employment Study and measure six different forms of material hardship: food insufficiency, telephone disconnection, utility disconnection, unmet medical needs, improper winter clothing, and housing problems. This article finds that cross-sectional reports of material hardship are comparable with those found in other studies but that cumulative levels of hardship increase over time. Women also are likely to experience multiple forms of hardship over the observation period. This suggests that overall quality of life within these households is quite low at some point during the transition from welfare to work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-397
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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