• The relationship between alcohol and drug use and achievement of self-sufficiency from public assistance by female AFDC recipients in Project Independence

      Sisco, Carol Bolton; Orme, John G. (1994)
      The study used a prospective cohort design to examine the relationship between alcohol and drug use and achievement of self-sufficiency from public assistance in a nonprobability convenience sample of 203 female AFDC recipients who enrolled in Maryland's welfare-to-work program--Project Independence--between January and May, 1990. A Health Habit Questionnaire, including two standardized measures of substance abuse, was administered at program entry; self-sufficiency outcomes were measured 18 months post-entry. Five directional hypotheses were tested. The study found that, when controlling for relevant factors, alcohol and drug use were not independently related to achievement of self-sufficiency from public assistance. However, due to methodological characteristics of the study, alcohol and drug use (i.e., substance abuse) were collectively related to AFDC and Food Stamp receipt in a direction opposite than predicted. Cohort alcoholism and drug abuse were comparable to, or greater than, substance abuse in other female public assistance populations and greater than substance abuse in the U.S. and Maryland female populations. Education was positively related to cohort earnings and inversely related to cohort household Medicaid costs. Though future research needs to use multiple indicators and gender-sensitive measures of substance abuse to examine tenure on public assistance based on alcohol or drug use, the study's findings underscore the deficiencies of current Federal and state policies and programs to address substance abuse problems and to facilitate long-term economic self-sufficiency among female AFDC recipients.