Qualitative Social Wor
Self-sufﬁciency (SS) is the epitome of America’s ‘reluctant’welfare state. It is generally accepted in social welfare policycircles as a concept related to independence and ﬁnancialstability. Nevertheless, SS is not a term agreed upon inpractice by policymakers, researchers, or service providersand is frequently used without a clear common deﬁnition.In this sense, the purpose of this study is to explore the extentto which the top-down deﬁnition of ‘economic’ SS as thesocial policy goal is consistent with how the clients of job training programs perceive the term. Using a groundedtheory approach, a bottom-up deﬁnition of SS was derivedfrom a focus group of low-income jobseekers. The focusgroup was transcribed for a content analysis from which a client-centered deﬁnition of SS was drawn. Findings suggestthat SS is a process of developing psychological strength properties and a goal-oriented progression toward realistic ﬁnancial outcomes.Implications for evidence-based community interventions for client empowerment and workforce development are suggested.
Hong, P.Y., Sheriff, A., & Naeger, S. (2009). A bottom-up definition of self-sufficiency: Voices from low-income jobseekers. Qualitative Social Work, 8(3), 357-376 .
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