Lost in Appalachia: The unexpected impact of welfare reform on older women in rural communities

Debra A. Henderson, Ann R. Tickamyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

A primary goal of welfare reform was to overcome welfare dependency through the promotion of work and the setting of lifetime limits. While at first blush this goal may have appeared reasonable for young recipients, it does not address the needs of older recipients, particularly women. Based on in-depth interviews with welfare recipients in four impoverished rural Appalachian counties over a four year time span (1999-2001; 2004), this paper evaluates the experiences of older women as they confront the changes brought on by welfare reform legislation. Findings suggest that impoverished older women in isolated rural communities experience multiple crises as they attempt to negotiate the "new" welfare system. As a result of spatial inequality, limited social capital, and the effects of ageism, they have tremendous difficulty meeting even their most basic needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-171
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Volume35
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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