From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

A systematic review of qualitative evidence on the health and wellbeing impacts of welfare to work interventions on lone parents and their children

Substantially more lone parent families in the UK are workless and living in relative poverty (households with less than 60 per cent of contemporary median household income), compared to children of couple parents. Lone parents and their children also have a higher risk of poor mental health, social and behavioural outcomes.

Changes to benefit entitlements for lone parents have been introduced in many countries, most notably the United States, in recent decades. The UK government has now required lone parents of children aged 5 and over to be available for work. This change in policy is based on the belief that employment has the potential to address both income and health inequalities. However, it is unclear what effect combining lone parenthood and employment might have on the health and wellbeing of lone parents and their children.

Many qualitative studies have investigated the impact of welfare to work on lone parent families, but these studies have not been systematically reviewed. We are therefore conducting a systematic review of qualitative studies reporting impacts on and links between health, well-being, and related socio-economic outcomes for lone parents and their children, following participation in welfare to work interventions.