Gender and Rural/Urban Differences in Employment Barriers and Psychological Problems

J. Matthew Webster, University of Kentucky
Michele Staton, University of Kentucky
Matthew L. Hiller, University of Kentucky
Carl G. Leukefeld, University of Kentucky

ABSTRACT
This study examined the roles gender and rurality play in perceived barriers to employment and psychological problems using a sample of drug-involved offenders. As part of the NIDA-funded Enhancing Drug Court Retention in a Rural State project, drug court participants from either a rural county (43%) or urban county (57%) completed a baseline interview with research staff at program entry that included the Barriers to Employment Success Inventory (BESI) as well as the Brief Symptoms Inventory (BSI). Data from the first 350 drug court participants (71% male, 29% female) enrolled in the study show that females report greater perceived employment barriers and have higher rates of psychological problems than males, but rurality appeared unrelated to BESI or BSI scores. A series of statistically significant rurality X gender interactions showed particularly high BESI and BSI scores for rural females. Logistic regression models predicting current employment status were estimated using gender, rural/urban, and BESI and BSI scores as predictors. Implications of findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006