Spirituality, hope, and self-sufficiency among low-income job seekers

Philip Young P Hong, David Hodge, Sangmi Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Self-sufficiency (SS) is an important social welfare policy goal in the United States, yet little is known about the process that leads to SS. To address this gap in the literature, this study examined the relationship between spirituality, hope, and SS among a sample of low-income job seekers (N = 116). It was hypothesized that spirituality would be related to hope, and that hope, in turn, would be related to SS. Using survey data from two workforce development agencies, this hypothesis was confirmed-hope fully mediated the relationship between spirituality and SS. Of the two factors through which hope is commonly operationalized-agency and pathways-supplemental analysis suggested that spirituality only affects SS through the agency channel. To help foster hope in direct practice settings, it is suggested that social workers might employ spiritually modified cognitive-behavioral therapy protocols. Macrostructural interventions that block the pathway component of hope are also suggested to help reverse exclusion from labor market entry. As such, hope needs to be addressed comprehensively-intrapsychically and macrostructurally-to effect bottom-up change for SS. Engendering hope may assist clients overcome some of the many challenges they encounter on the journey to SS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Work (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • employment
  • hope
  • poverty
  • self-sufficiency
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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