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Future Employment Among Homeless Single Mothers: The Effects of Full-Time Work Experience and Depressive Sympotomatology
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This study examines the relationship between work and depressive symptomatology for extremely destitute single mothers who have experienced an episode of homelessness. Using longitudinal data collected from 294 respondents who became homeless in 1992 and were followed for approximately two years, we find that a history of full-time work is the best predictor of whether a woman will find full-time employment in the aftermath of an episode of homelessness. Even an extensive history of part-time or informal work was not predictive of finding employment after leaving a homeless shelter. A woman's level of depressive symptomatology at the onset of homelessness predicted her strategy in dealing with the shelter bureaucracy. Women with full-time work histories who experienced high levels of depressive moods at the onset of a shelter episode were likely to leave the shelter quickly. Those with lower levels of depressive symptomatology stayed and were more likely than others to complete an education or job training program. Both types of women with full-time work histories were more likely than others to find full-time employment after a homeless episode. These findings suggest that policy makers must focus on providing full-time, and not part-time, work for impoverished mothers and take depressive symptomatology into account when offering assistance to homeless mothers. (Authors)
Women & Health
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