Moving toward self -sufficiency in Connecticut: The impact of risk and informal social support on employment adaptation for high -risk TANF recipients

Linda M Procino, Fordham University


This study seeks to understand the relationship between risk related to personal problems, family membership concerns and human capital deficits and employment adaptation. In addition, its purpose is to shed light on the question ‘can support moderate the impact of risk on job retention for 88 high risk TANF recipients’ who participated in a Welfare-to-Work program in Bridgeport Connecticut from January 1999 through December 1999. The Job Retention Enhanced Employee Assistance Program (Job Retention) is a collaborative venture between a job training agency and a family service agency. The study utilized a self-assessment tool, the Employment Situation Questionnaire that was developed for this research. Informal social support was measured by the Maternal Social Support Index (MSSI), a standardized tool that focuses on instrumental and perceived emotional support that is provided by one's social network members. The hypotheses that guided this research were that (1) risk is directly related to adaptation to employment in that as risk increases adaptation to employment decreases; (2) informal social support has a direct relationship to adaptation to employment in that the greater the informal social support, the greater the adaptation to employment; and (3) informal social support buffers the impact of risk on adaptation to employment to increase the likelihood of a successful adaptation to employment. This research did not support these hypotheses. A hierarchical regression analysis however, of level of adaptation to employment with the number of persons in the household, risk related to a lack of paid work experience, personal risk, emergency child care support, religious-educational-political community involvement and an interaction variable of community involvement x personal risk was statistically significant. The regression analysis explained 20.1% of the variance of level of adaptation to employment and calls into question the efficacy of a labor attachment or work first model for the hardest to serve. Recommendations are made to consider mental health and substance abuse treatment acceptable work activities that are not subject to sanctions and to provide paid on the job training for high-risk TANF recipients who are attempting to transition from welfare to work.

Subject Area

Social work|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Procino, Linda M, "Moving toward self -sufficiency in Connecticut: The impact of risk and informal social support on employment adaptation for high -risk TANF recipients" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3006408.