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  • Individual Author: Cross-Barnet, Caitlin; Cherlin, Andrew; Burton, Linda
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    In this article, we examine variations in low-income mothers' patterns of intermittent cohabitation and the voluntary and involuntary nature of these unions. Intermittent cohabitation involves couples living together and separating in repeating cycles. Using Three-City Study ethnographic data, we identified 45 low-income mothers involved in these arrangements, 18 of whom resided with their children's fathers occasionally while saying that they were not in a cohabiting relationship. We term such relationships living together apart (LTA). Data analysis revealed that distinct patterns of voluntary and involuntary separations and reunifications characterized intermittent cohabitation and LTA and that these relationships were shaped by the bonds that shared parenting created and the economic needs of both parents. We argue that these dimensions may explain some disparate accounts of cohabitation status in low-income populations. They also demonstrate previously unexplored diversity in cohabiting relationships and suggest further questioning contemporary definitions of families. (...

    In this article, we examine variations in low-income mothers' patterns of intermittent cohabitation and the voluntary and involuntary nature of these unions. Intermittent cohabitation involves couples living together and separating in repeating cycles. Using Three-City Study ethnographic data, we identified 45 low-income mothers involved in these arrangements, 18 of whom resided with their children's fathers occasionally while saying that they were not in a cohabiting relationship. We term such relationships living together apart (LTA). Data analysis revealed that distinct patterns of voluntary and involuntary separations and reunifications characterized intermittent cohabitation and LTA and that these relationships were shaped by the bonds that shared parenting created and the economic needs of both parents. We argue that these dimensions may explain some disparate accounts of cohabitation status in low-income populations. They also demonstrate previously unexplored diversity in cohabiting relationships and suggest further questioning contemporary definitions of families. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Joshi, Pamela; Pilkauskas, Natasha; Bir, Anupa; Lerman, Bob
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    The Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) is a key component of the healthy marriage demonstration strategy of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine how public policies can best support healthy marriages and child well-being. The community healthy marriage demonstrations discussed in this report are funded through waivers granted by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. Two concepts underlie the CHMI strategy. One is that community coalitions can be an effective vehicle for developing a range of healthy marriage and healthy family activities, including classes that build marriage skills, partnerships with clergy and others, celebration days, and media messages about the value of marriage and healthy families. The second is that communities with a critical mass of such activities can lead to positive outcomes for families, individuals and couples as a direct result of their participation in classes and other services and indirectly through their interactions with friends, family,...

    The Community Healthy Marriage Initiative (CHMI) is a key component of the healthy marriage demonstration strategy of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to determine how public policies can best support healthy marriages and child well-being. The community healthy marriage demonstrations discussed in this report are funded through waivers granted by the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) under authority of Section 1115 of the Social Security Act. Two concepts underlie the CHMI strategy. One is that community coalitions can be an effective vehicle for developing a range of healthy marriage and healthy family activities, including classes that build marriage skills, partnerships with clergy and others, celebration days, and media messages about the value of marriage and healthy families. The second is that communities with a critical mass of such activities can lead to positive outcomes for families, individuals and couples as a direct result of their participation in classes and other services and indirectly through their interactions with friends, family, and others in the community who were themselves influenced by a local marriage-related activity sponsored by the local coalition. The goals of the section 1115 healthy marriage waiver initiatives are to achieve child support objectives through healthy marriage activities.

    This report focuses on the implementation of three OCSE funded Section 1115 CHMI projects:  the demonstrations in Boston, Massachusetts; Jacksonville, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois. CHMI projects generally involve local coalitions that aim to provide their communities with marriage education, relationship skills training, media messages, and other related activities. Although each site has its specific mix of services, all attempt to engage a coalition of public, private, secular, and religious organizations to sponsor their own activities and thereby promote the overall goals of the initiative. All are trying to implement community-level strategies to encourage healthy marriages and parenting and improve child support outcomes, thereby generating benefits for children as well as couples. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Cherlin, Andrew J.; Fomby, Paula
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    Data from a two-wave survey of low-income families in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio are used to replicate recent reports of a modest increase in the number of low-income children living in two-adult families and to analyze the increase. We find that most of the increase occurred through the addition of a man other than the biological father to the household and that more of it occurred through cohabitation than through marriage. Moreover, across the two waves, cohabiting and marital unions were highly unstable. We review research on stepfamilies and on instability in children’s living arrangements, and we conclude that the kinds of two-adult families being formed in these low-income central-city neighborhoods may not benefit children as much as policy-makers hope. In addition, we investigate the associations between marital and cohabiting transitions, on the one hand, and transitions into and out of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) receipt, employment, and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) usage between the two waves on the other. We find that marital transitions...

    Data from a two-wave survey of low-income families in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio are used to replicate recent reports of a modest increase in the number of low-income children living in two-adult families and to analyze the increase. We find that most of the increase occurred through the addition of a man other than the biological father to the household and that more of it occurred through cohabitation than through marriage. Moreover, across the two waves, cohabiting and marital unions were highly unstable. We review research on stepfamilies and on instability in children’s living arrangements, and we conclude that the kinds of two-adult families being formed in these low-income central-city neighborhoods may not benefit children as much as policy-makers hope. In addition, we investigate the associations between marital and cohabiting transitions, on the one hand, and transitions into and out of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) receipt, employment, and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) usage between the two waves on the other. We find that marital transitions are related to TANF and employment transitions but that cohabiting transitions are not. We suggest that low-income mothers may view marriage as more of an economic partnership than cohabitation and may expect more of an economic contribution from a husband than from a cohabiting partner. (author abstract)

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