Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Using information obtained from interviews of a sample of fifteen African-American women from two counties in a border state, the overall perceptions of women receiving public assistance and the labels and stigmas (i.e., welfare checks, food stamps, and medical cards) associated with receiving public assistance were examined. Research findings indicate that there is stress associated with receiving public assistance, and the stigmas associated with public assistance influence people in the public domain to brand recipients socially. The findings from the interviews produced results indicating that the perceived differences and mistreatment felt by welfare recipients were, in part, the result of welfare stigma symbols (i.e., welfare check, food stamps, and medical card). The respondents felt that race exacerbated labeling and stigmatization.



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