Methods: Data and Samples: Data for this study were collected in 2012 through a mail-survey intending to evaluate the Arkansas TANF program. The sampling population consisted of non-duplicated cases from 2011-2012 (N=8,605). From this population, a random sample of 2,000 TANF participants were selected and mailed the survey. Of those who received the survey, 525 (26%) participants returned the survey and 498 are included in the analysis. The mail survey contained approximately 60 questions regarding demographics, experiences with TANF, physical and mental health, childcare needs, and experience with intimate partner violence.
Measures: The independent variable for this study was experience with intimate partner violence (IPV). A subscale was created using four questions from the survey regarding experience with intimate partner violence with good reliability (α= .78). The dependent variable is depression or anxiety as a barrier to employment and is dichotomous. This variable was measured using a question that asked if “depression or anxiety” ever kept participants from working (0=no, 1=yes). Control variables included race, drug and alcohol use, gender, and use of a shelter.
Results: Due to the dichotomous nature of the dependent variable, hierarchical binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine factors related to depression and anxiety as a barrier to employment. The overall model was significant (p<.000). The change from model 1 to model 2 was significant (p<.000). In line with the hypothesis, IPV experience significantly predicted depression or anxiety as a barrier to work (OR=1.774, p<.000). Findings indicate that IPV experience is associated with an 80% higher likelihood of having depression or anxiety be a barrier to employment. In addition, shelter use also significantly predicted depression or anxiety as a barrier to work (OR= 3.1, p= .05). As such, those who reported trouble working due to living in a shelter were 30% more likely to have depression or anxiety as a barrier to work as well. The accuracy rate of change was satisfied (25%).
Conclusions and Implications: People using TANF who experience IPV are more likely to report depression or anxiety as a barrier to work. In addition, TANF participants who reported living in a shelter are more likely to report depression and anxiety as a barrier to work. Social workers serving TANF participants should consider depression as a result from IPV when developing service plans to ensure clients have support services in place.