Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 8.6.3 Economic Functioning

01/08/2001

In addition to the general item in the problem inventory on not having enough money for food, rent, or clothing, we asked four specific questions about difficulties in paying for the essentials of living (rent, electric service and heating, food, and clothes) (see Tables 8-6 and 8-7). These items were examined individually and were combined into an overall economic functioning scale. (See Tables 8-38-4, and 8-5 for analyses of the scale).

Kentucky. On the scale, primary and secondary analyses revealed no significant differences in the average proportion of affirmative responses to the four items either at post-treatment or at follow-up.1516 There also were no differences between groups in changes over time.

New Jersey. On the economic functioning scale, the experimental group had a lower average proportion of affirmative responses to these items at post-treatment (.25 vs. .34, p = .02) although the difference was not significant in the secondary analysis. The difference was not significant at follow-up nor were there significant differences in change over time. There were, however, significant differences on two of the specific items at post-treatment. Control group respondents more often reported difficulties paying rent (29% vs. 18%, p = .02) and also more often reported difficulties in buying clothes (47% vs. 33%, p = .01). These differences were not significant in the secondary analysis. At follow-up, there continued to be a difference in regard to buying food, although it was not significant (26% of the experimental group vs. 35% of the control group p = .12). At follow-up, the groups were similar on the other three items.

Tennessee. Control group respondents more often reported problems on the economic functioning scale at both post-treatment and follow-up, although the differences were not significant. There were also no significant differences between the groups in change over time. On individual items, there were no significant differences between groups at the post-treatment interview. At follow-up, significantly fewer experimental group respondents reported difficulties paying rent (20% vs. 39%, p = .04). There were no significant differences on the other three items at follow-up.


(15)  The control group had a slightly lower average proportion of affirmative responses to these items at post-treatment (.17 vs. .22, p = .16).

(16)  In the primary analysis, at post-treatment, a greater proportion of the experimental group reported difficulties paying rent (20% vs 13%, p= .13) and electric or heat bills (28% vs. 20%, p = .11). In the secondary analysis, differences were smaller and p-values for both items were above .20.