The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among participation in welfare programs, gender, and change in social support in adults aged 65 and older. It was hypothesized that older men receiving public assistance would encounter more social network problems than older women on welfare. The findings reveal that during the 7-year study older men in receipt of welfare benefits, compared with older women on welfare, received less social support from others, were more dissatisfied with the assistance they got, and encountered more negative interaction from informal social network members (i.e., family and friends). The results suggest that those who administer welfare programs, as well as public policymakers, should consider developing interventions that address the wider psychosocial problems associated with receiving public assistance.
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