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Facilitating Inclusion through Welfare Reform: Can Work Improve Mental Health?
Unformatted Document Text:  2 recipients suffer from symptoms of depression, compared to 20 percent in the general population (Derr, Hill, & Pavetti, 2000). There is a small but growing body of research examining the relationship between work and depression among current and former welfare recipients (Danziger, Kalil, & Anderson, 2000b; Jayakody & Stauffer, 2000). While these studies suggest that there is a negative relationship between depression and work, the direction of causation is unknown, primarily due to the use of cross-sectional data. On one hand, work may help alleviate depression and its symptoms through providing needed structure and enhancing self-worth. On the other hand, the stress of taking on the additional role of worker may contribute to mental health problems (Bromberger & Matthews, 1994). In the mental health literature, work is widely recognized as important for mental health and a standard component of treatment for mental illness. Studies of populations with mental illness (including depression) suggest that work provides psychological, economic and attitudinal benefits (Cunningham, Wolbert, & Brickmeier, 2000). As Van Dongen (1996) notes, work can be beneficial because it provides a distraction from symptoms, needed structure, and an opportunity for socialization. There are a number of other factors besides work that may affect depression or depressive symptoms. Research has shown a positive association between symptoms of depression and health and family-related factors. The link between physical and mental health has been widely documented (Heneghan et al., 1998; Danziger et al., 2000a; Miech & Shanahan, 2000). Siefert et al. (2000) found that women with a physical health limitation were twice as likely to suffer from major depression than those without a limitation controlling for a number of social and 2001; Danziger et al., 2000a; Miech and Shanahan, 2000). This review will include past research that has measured both diagnosed depression and symptoms of depression.

Authors: Altenbernd, Lisa. and Lewis, Dan.
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2
recipients suffer from symptoms of depression, compared to 20 percent in the general population
(Derr, Hill, & Pavetti, 2000).
There is a small but growing body of research examining the relationship between work
and depression among current and former welfare recipients (Danziger, Kalil, & Anderson,
2000b; Jayakody & Stauffer, 2000). While these studies suggest that there is a negative
relationship between depression and work, the direction of causation is unknown, primarily due
to the use of cross-sectional data. On one hand, work may help alleviate depression and its
symptoms through providing needed structure and enhancing self-worth. On the other hand, the
stress of taking on the additional role of worker may contribute to mental health problems
(Bromberger & Matthews, 1994).
In the mental health literature, work is widely recognized as important for mental health
and a standard component of treatment for mental illness. Studies of populations with mental
illness (including depression) suggest that work provides psychological, economic and attitudinal
benefits (Cunningham, Wolbert, & Brickmeier, 2000). As Van Dongen (1996) notes, work can
be beneficial because it provides a distraction from symptoms, needed structure, and an
opportunity for socialization.
There are a number of other factors besides work that may affect depression or depressive
symptoms. Research has shown a positive association between symptoms of depression and
health and family-related factors. The link between physical and mental health has been widely
documented (Heneghan et al., 1998; Danziger et al., 2000a; Miech & Shanahan, 2000). Siefert
et al. (2000) found that women with a physical health limitation were twice as likely to suffer
from major depression than those without a limitation controlling for a number of social and
2001; Danziger et al., 2000a; Miech and Shanahan, 2000). This review will include past research that has measured
both diagnosed depression and symptoms of depression.


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