Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 9-2009

Publication Title

Qualitative Social Wor





Publisher Name

SAGE Publications


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.


Author Posting © Sage Publishing, 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Sage Publishing for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Qualitative Social Work, Volume 8, Issue 3, 2009.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.