Mitigating Material Hardship: The Strategies Low-Income Families Employ to Reduce the Consequences of Poverty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations


Despite decades of research, little is known about the contours of material hardship and how the social processes underlying specific domains of hardship are similar and different. We use qualitative interview data to examine five different domains of material hardship: housing, bill-paying, food, medical, and clothing hardships. While mothers use social program participation, reliance on social networks, and individual strategies to mitigate hardships, the dominance of these strategies and their specific applications differ across hardship domains. These results complement recent research that identifies each domain of hardship as unique and suggest that domain-specific hardship mitigation approaches are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-246
Number of pages24
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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