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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Sociology & Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer A. Johnson


This paper examines the effects of social capital in the lives of low-income single mothers and how it intersects with the goals of the Personal Responsibility Act (PRA). These explicit goals are to decrease reliance on public assistance through work and marriage; the implicit goals are to enhance social capital by increasing the trust, norms, and values that are evidenced by work and marriage. However, low-income single mothers are faced with limited repositories of social capital, which leaves them in a legislated quagmire. Tested here is the hypothesis that social capital impacts marriage, stable employment, and TANF use. The findings indicate that social capital impacts stable employment and economic stability in low-income single mothers, but it does not increase the likelihood of marriage. Further research that examines how social capital intersects with race and class will shed additional light on the efficacy of policy initiatives that focus on social capital reinforcement in low income female-headed families.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008