TANF Participation and Intimate Partner Violence: Exploring Barriers to Self-Sufficiency

Johanna Thomas, Shannon Collier-Tenison, December Maxwell, Cody Cheek


Interpersonal Violence (IPV) is regarded as a primary barrier to employment for women in poverty. For recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), required to participate in work-related activities, experiences of IPV threatens the ability to meet work requirements, resulting in sanctions, if they do not have exemptions through a domestic violence option (DVO) waiver. The purpose of the current study was to assess the effects of IPV on self-sufficiency in a sample of TANF participants. Data for the study were collected from a mail survey instrument sent to 2,000 randomly selected TANF recipients in one state in the U.S. Findings indicate the majority of the sample (N=525) was female (96%), non-white (73%), and single (86%). One-third of respondents experienced IPV and 29% experienced IPV within the past year. Approximately half of the respondents sustained a physical injury and 29% reported trouble working due to IPV. Non-parametric correlation analysis indicated those who reported IPV were less likely to be employed (p <.002). Respondents reporting violence in the past year and were less likely to be self-sufficient (p =.01). Lastly, participants who experienced an injury from IPV were also significantly more likely to have trouble working (p <.001). Although IPV is just one of many barriers to self-sufficiency for poor women, the lack of access to employment can have dire consequences for women reliant upon TANF benefits. This study indicates a need to further explore the linkages between IPV, access to employment, and other barriers to self-sufficiency.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v5i12.2749


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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