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Evidence-Based Resource Summary

Strength of Evidence: 
4 out of 4
4 out of 4
Year Published: 

Welfare-to-Work Interventions and Their Effects on the Mental and Physical Health of Lone Parents and Their Children

Description of Resource: 
Single parents in high-income countries have high rates of poverty and poor health. “Welfare-to-work” (WtW) interventions involving financial sanctions and incentives, training, childcare subsidies, and lifetime limits on benefits have been used to support or mandate employment among single parents. This systematic review aimed to assess the effects of WtW interventions on the mental and physical health of single parents and their children living in high-income countries. It identified 12 studies involving a total of 27,482 participants; the majority were women. The review found that WtW interventions are unlikely to have tangible impacts on health. Even where employment and income were higher for the parents taking part in WtW interventions, poverty remained high for the majority of parents in many of the studies. Depression also remained very high for single parents regardless of participation in WtW interventions.

Evidence-Based Resource Details

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Developed By: 
Cochrane Review
Developer Type: 
Non-Federal Government
Healthy People 2020 Topic Area(s): 
Social Determinants of Health
Healthy People 2020 Objectives: 
Resource Type: 
Systematic Review
Gibson M, Thomson H, Banas K, Lutje V, McKee MJ, Martin SP, Fenton C, Bambra C, Bond L. Welfare-to-work interventions and their effects on the mental and physical health of lone parents and their children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD009820. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009820.pub3.