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Title:The Role of Gender-Based Personality in Public Assistance Cases in Vermilion County, Illinois
Author(s):Bush, Richard Dale
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political Science, General
Abstract:Despite countless efforts by national, state, and local governments to arrest the growth in the numbers of persons receiving payments under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, the number of AFDC recipients and the subsequent costs of this program to all levels of government continued to grow through the 1970s. Recent leveling off of that growth has occurred only due to a political redefinition of eligibility and the placement of a ceiling artificially on the costs of welfare. A variety of theories as to what causes and what will end recipiency and programmatic designs based upon those theories failed for the most part in the latter 1960s and throughout the 1970s to attain the desired results, paving the way for these more politically based and motivated solutions to the welfare dilemma.
Emerging from within the feminist movement of the 1970s, however, a separate and theoretically promising alternative for explaining welfare recipiency remains to be more fully explored. This is the notion that AFDC recipiency is explicable on the basis of gender dynamics and is apparently and primarily a problem of women. One hypothesis involved in this theory is that women are recipients culturally of a feminine personality characterized by excessive dependency, submissiveness, tender-mindedness, lowered ego strength, and a lack of inventiveness. This personality structure supposedly leads many females to lack ambition, to favor home life over work, and causes many women to fail to exploit potential intelligence and other natural abilities. As a result, many end up on welfare--a kind of ultimate modern manifestation of and form of feminine dependency orientation.
Studying in detail forty-seven Illinois welfare recipients and testing each with the Sixteen PF-E, a personality test developed by the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing, this study failed to confirm the existence of the hypothesized feminine personality among female AFDC recipients. The recipients instead appeared more intelligent, more independent, more shrewd, and more experimenting than the hypothesis anticipated. Their appearance on AFDC seemed to be caused by the imposition of role models contradicting the personality structure found among the group as a whole with recipiency a step toward conciliation of the two forces. The results indicate that further study should emphasize these institutional, role-imposing processes as these affect women and men.
Issue Date:1983
Description:284 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8324521
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1983

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