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Welfare-to-work interventions and their effects on the mental and physical health of lone parents and their children

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (92nd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (77th percentile)

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1 news outlet
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36 tweeters

Citations

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2 Dimensions

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3 Mendeley
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Title
Welfare-to-work interventions and their effects on the mental and physical health of lone parents and their children
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, August 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd009820.pub2
Pubmed ID
Authors

Marcia Gibson, Hilary Thomson, Kasia Banas, Vittoria Lutje, Martin J McKee, Susan P Martin, Candida Fenton, Clare Bambra, Lyndal Bond

Abstract

Lone parents in high-income countries have high rates of poverty (including in-work poverty) and poor health. Employment requirements for these parents are increasingly common. 'Welfare-to-work' (WtW) interventions involving financial sanctions and incentives, training, childcare subsidies and lifetime limits on benefit receipt have been used to support or mandate employment among lone parents. These and other interventions that affect employment and income may also affect people's health, and it is important to understand the available evidence on these effects in lone parents. To assess the effects of WtW interventions on mental and physical health in lone parents and their children living in high-income countries. The secondary objective is to assess the effects of welfare-to-work interventions on employment and income. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE Ovid, Embase Ovid, PsycINFO EBSCO, ERIC EBSCO, SocINDEX EBSCO, CINAHL EBSCO, Econlit EBSCO, Web of Science ISI, Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts (ASSIA) via Proquest, International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) via ProQuest, Social Services Abstracts via Proquest, Sociological Abstracts via Proquest, Campbell Library, NHS Economic Evaluation Database (NHS EED) (CRD York), Turning Research into Practice (TRIP), OpenGrey and Planex. We also searched bibliographies of included publications and relevant reviews, in addition to many relevant websites. We identified many included publications by handsearching. We performed the searches in 2011, 2013 and April 2016. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of mandatory or voluntary WtW interventions for lone parents in high-income countries, reporting impacts on parental mental health, parental physical health, child mental health or child physical health. One review author extracted data using a standardised extraction form, and another checked them. Two authors independently assessed risk of bias and the quality of the evidence. We contacted study authors to obtain measures of variance and conducted meta-analyses where possible. We synthesised data at three time points: 18 to 24 months (T1), 25 to 48 months (T2) and 49 to 72 months (T3). Twelve studies involving 27,482 participants met the inclusion criteria. Interventions were either mandatory or voluntary and included up to 10 discrete components in varying combinations. All but one study took place in North America. Although we searched for parental health outcomes, the vast majority of the sample in all included studies were female. Therefore, we describe adult health outcomes as 'maternal' throughout the results section. We downgraded the quality of all evidence at least one level because outcome assessors were not blinded. Follow-up ranged from 18 months to six years. The effects of welfare-to-work interventions on health were generally positive but of a magnitude unlikely to have any tangible effects.At T1 there was moderate-quality evidence of a very small negative impact on maternal mental health (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.07, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.00 to 0.14; N = 3352; studies = 2)); at T2, moderate-quality evidence of no effect (SMD 0.00, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.05; N = 7091; studies = 3); and at T3, low-quality evidence of a very small positive effect (SMD -0.07, 95% CI -0.15 to 0.00; N = 8873; studies = 4). There was evidence of very small positive effects on maternal physical health at T1 (risk ratio (RR) 0.85, 95% CI 0.54 to 1.36; N = 311; 1 study, low quality) and T2 (RR 1.06, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.18; N = 2551; 2 studies, moderate quality), and of a very small negative effect at T3 (RR 0.97, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.04; N = 1854; 1 study, low quality).At T1, there was moderate-quality evidence of a very small negative impact on child mental health (SMD 0.01, 95% CI -0.06 to 0.09; N = 2762; studies = 1); at T2, of a very small positive effect (SMD -0.04, 95% CI -0.08 to 0.01; N = 7560; studies = 5), and at T3, there was low-quality evidence of a very small positive effect (SMD -0.05, 95% CI -0.16 to 0.05; N = 3643; studies = 3). Moderate-quality evidence for effects on child physical health showed a very small negative effect at T1 (SMD -0.05, 95% CI -0.12 to 0.03; N = 2762; studies = 1), a very small positive effect at T2 (SMD 0.07, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.12; N = 7195; studies = 3), and a very small positive effect at T3 (SMD 0.01, 95% CI -0.04 to 0.06; N = 8083; studies = 5). There was some evidence of larger negative effects on health, but this was of low or very low quality.There were small positive effects on employment and income at 18 to 48 months (moderate-quality evidence), but these were largely absent at 49 to 72 months (very low to moderate-quality evidence), often due to control group members moving into work independently. Since the majority of the studies were conducted in North America before the year 2000, generalisabilty may be limited. However, all study sites were similar in that they were high-income countries with developed social welfare systems. The effects of WtW on health are largely of a magnitude that is unlikely to have tangible impacts. Since income and employment are hypothesised to mediate effects on health, it is possible that these negligible health impacts result from the small effects on economic outcomes. Even where employment and income were higher for the lone parents in WtW, poverty was still high for the majority of the lone parents in many of the studies. Perhaps because of this, depression also remained very high for lone parents whether they were in WtW or not. There is a lack of robust evidence on the health effects of WtW for lone parents outside North America.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 3 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 3 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 1 33%
Student > Ph. D. Student 1 33%
Librarian 1 33%
Unspecified 1 33%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Psychology 2 67%
Unspecified 1 33%
Social Sciences 1 33%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 30. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 01 May 2019.
All research outputs
#533,402
of 13,304,005 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#1,677
of 10,548 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#20,382
of 267,233 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
#58
of 260 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,304,005 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 95th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 10,548 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 20.8. This one has done well, scoring higher than 84% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 267,233 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 260 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 77% of its contemporaries.