Thesis Defense Announcement

The College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Thesis Defense of

Krista Wright Thayer

for the Degree of Master of Science

on July 24, 2018 at 1:00 PM in Clement Hall, Room 203

Advisor: Carol Rambo

Social Services Providers' Perspectives on Clients, Social Services Workers and Public Assistance

ABSTRACT: Over past decades, recipients of public assistance have been stereotyped as "welfare queens" taking advantage of the public assistance system, by politicians, commentators, and the public at large. Social services workers' perspectives have largely been neglected in the literature. This oversight ignores their interpretations of clients, social services workers and the system. This study answers the research question, "What discourses will social services providers use to describe clients, social services workers and the public assistance system?" After interviewing 12 social services workers, results showed, like politicians and the public at large, that workers stigmatize clients. The recurring themes reported from social services workers included being too dependent on assistance and workers needing to have a passion to help others. Goffman's concept of stigma and Heatherton and colleague's explanations of stigma frame the findings in this study. The implications of these perceptions for social workers and their clients are discussed.