Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Debora Rice


AbstractIn the United States, low-income, African American, single mothers meet with little success in financial stability and career and educational attainment because of difficulties in escaping systemic inequities that impede their socioeconomic well-being. The focus of this action research study was to examine how bachelor social workers (BSW) and master social workers (MSW) understand the impact of systemic stigmatization on the socioeconomic well-being of low-income, African American, single mothers. The theoretical framework that guided this study was stigma theory. A Zoom focus group was conducted with 5 social workers (i.e., BSW and MSW) who work with low-income, African American, single mothers. The data were organized and analyzed using inductive content analysis, resulting in the primary themes of (a) perpetuation of the cycle of poverty, (b) client disempowerment, (c) educating clients about opportunities and empowerment, and (d) counteracting the stigma of assistance seeking. Strategies developed from the findings of this study that could be used to contribute to positive social change include sensitivity awareness trainings for providers regarding systemic stigmatization and client empowerment. The findings also indicated the need for policy changes that impact the financial, career advancement, educational growth, and overall well-being of low-income, African American, single mothers.

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