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Abstracts from Volume 33, Number 3
(September, 2006)

The Effects of Prolonged Job Insecurity on the Psychological Well-Being of Workers
Cynthia Rocha, Jennifer Hause Crowell, and Andrea K. McCarter
Job insecurity has been increasing since the 1980s. While researchers have found job insecurity to be negatively associated with multiple indicators of well-being for w workers and their families in cross sectional studies, less is known about the long
term effects of prolonged job insecurity. Specifically, there is a need to collect measures of both insecurity and its consequences at multiple time periods. The current study followed workers for 3½ years to assess the effects of chronic job insecurity on psychological distress. Results indicate that while workers reported
increased feelings of security over time, there were longer term negative effects on workers’ depression levels. The importance of government regulations to decrease insecurity is discussed.

The Poet/Practitioner:
A Paradigm for the Profession

Rich Furman, Carol L. Langer, and Debra K. Anderson
This article explores a new paradigm or model for the professional social worker: The poet/practitioner. The training and practice of the poet are congruent with many aspects of social work practice. An examination of the practice of the poet, and the
congruence of these practices to social work, reveals a paradigm with the capacity to focus social workers on the essential values of our profession. This paradigm, which highlights the humanistic, creative, and socially conscience role of the social work practitioner, may be particularly important today given the medicalization of social problems and the conservitization of society.

“Put Up” on Platforms:
A History of Twentieth Century Adoption Policy in the United States

Michelle Kahan
Adoption is closely intertwined with many issues that are central to public policy in this country—welfare and poverty, race and class, and gender. An analysis of the history of adoption shows how it has been shaped by the nation’s mores and demographics. In order to better understand this phenomenon, and its significance to larger
societal issues, this analysis reviews its history, focusing on four key periods in which this country’s adoption policy was shaped: the late Nineteenth Century’s ‘orphan trains’; the family preservation and Mothers’ Pensions of the Progressive Era; World War II through the 1950s, with secrecy and the beginnings of international adoption;
and the 1970s-1990s, when reproductive controls were more obtainable, and relinquishing children became more uncommon.

Altruism or Self-interest?
Social Spending and the Life Course

Debra Street and Jeralynn Sittig Cossman
The primacy of self-interested individuals is often regarded as the appropriate basis for US social spending decisions. One thread of this argument has advanced age-based self-interest and politically powerful elderly to explain why Social Security and Medicare have thrived in a policy environment that has seen retrenchment in other programs. We argue that crude self-interest and individual programs considered in isolation are insufficient to understand social spending preferences. We use General Social Survey data to contrast conventional and critical explanations for understanding
the role of age in preferences for social spending. Factor analyses demonstrate that social spending preferences cluster into conceptually distinctive domains. This supports our argument that social spending orientations are more complex than conventional analyses of age-based preferences for single-issue discrete programs like education, welfare or Social Security suggest. Overemphasis on age group differences misconstrues the role of age in spending orientations and whether preferences are more plausibly labeled as selfinterested or altruistic. Considering how age, period and cohorts differences impact social spending domains improves understanding of how the life course influences social spending preferences.

Economic Well-Being and Intimate Partner Violence:
New Findings about the Informal Economy

Loretta Pyles
The purpose of this research was to explore the relationship between intimate partner violence (IPV) and women’s participation in the informal economy (both legal and illegal) and their impact on economic well-being. This research was part of a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) study that was concerned with women’s survival of childhood and adult abuse. For the 285 women that were in this sample, there
were positive, medium correlations between IPV and various types of informal economic activity. Illegal informal economic activity, institutionalized informal economic activity, incarceration and physical abuse negatively impacted women’s economic well-being.

Job Satisfaction Among TANF Leavers
Jeff Scott
Using means tests, ANOVA, contingency methods and polytomous logistic regression techniques, I analyze job satisfaction survey data provided by former welfare recipients in Illinois. Mean job satisfaction in the sample is high. Wages, work hours, professional status, having employer sponsored health care and being in good health have significant positive effects on job satisfaction. Contrary to popular assumptions regarding welfare dependency, time on welfare positively affects post-TANF job satisfaction. I discuss implications of these findings in the context of policy debates regarding TANF reauthorization.

Searching for Social Capital in U.S. Microenterprise Development Programs
Nancy C. Jurik, Gray Cavender, and Julie Cowgill
This paper focuses on the claims and efforts of U.S. microenterprise development programs (MDPs) to build social capital among poor and low income entrepreneurs. MDPs offer business training and lending services to individuals operating very small businesses (with five or fewer employees and less than $20,000 in start-up capital).
Advocates suggest that MDPs help promote economic development by building social capital defined as networks among small entrepreneurs and between entrepreneurs and their larger community. We begin our paper with a short review of the varied definitions and claims about the role of social capital in promoting civic and economic empowerment. Then, drawing on interviews with practitioners from 50 programs, we examine the nature and extent of social capital building in U.S. MDPs. We consider the degree to which our sample MDPs directly promoted networks among clients, and between clients and individuals/organizations outside the program. More than half of the programs tried to network clients with each other, but only a few programs focused on building networks between clients and the larger community. From a critical perspective, we discuss more expanded notions of social capital building
in poor communities and the barriers to their implementation.

BOOK REVIEWS
One Nation Uninsured: Why the U.S. Has No National Health Insurance.
Jill Quadagno.
Reviewed by Stephen Pimpare.

When Public Housing Was Paradise: Building Community in Chicago.
J. S. Fuerst.
Reviewed by John Q. Hodges.

Unequal Chances: Family Background and Economic Success.
Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis and Melissa Osborne
Groves. (Eds.).
Reviewed by Larry Nackerud.

The Poorhouse: America’s Forgotten Institution.
David Wagner.
Reviewed by Paul H. Stuart.

Mental Disorders in the Social Environment.
Stuart A. Kirk (Ed.).
Reviewed by Kia J. Bentley.

Discovering Successful Pathways in Children’s Development:
Mixed Methods in the Study of Childhood and Family Life.

Thomas S. Weisner (Ed.).
Reviewed by Victor Groza.

BOOK NOTES
The Practice of Research in Social Work.
Rafael J. Engel and Russell K. Schutt.

Uninsured in America: Life and Death in the Land of Opportunity.
Susan Starr Sered and Rushika Fernandopulle.

Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance Through 20th Century Europe.
Victoria de Grazia.

White Backlash and the Politics of Multiculturalism.
Roger Hewitt.

War on the Family: Mothers in Prison and the Families They Leave Behind.
Renny Golden.

Child Abuse and Neglect: Attachment, Development and Intervention.
David Howe.

 

 

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