Within the framework of identity theory, twenty female former welfare recipients who are currently human service workers discussed how their past experiences affected current service provision and their views of the welfare system. Semi-structured interviews were used, and data were coded and analyzed using the multistage process designed by McCracken (1988) for long interviews. Respondents discussed how their experiences made them more empathetic towards their clients and gave them insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the past and present welfare systems. Results show support for identity theory by showing how past identities affect present ones.

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