Conformity, intergenerational social assistance use, learning, social assistance, welfare


Is there an intergenerational causal link in social assistance (SA) participation? There is a dearth of research addressing this question, yet the discourse of ‘welfare dependency’ is hegemonic. The limited research that does attempt to tease out a causal link in intergenerational SA participation remains equivocal. Qualitative research is largely absent in welfare scholarship; research that might provide a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics underlying SA receipt. We employ an inductive qualitative analysis, using procedures from grounded theory, to understand SA participants’ experiences and perspectives on intergenerational SA usage. We find that the two causal mechanisms underlying intergenerational SA usage, the learning effect and conformity effect, require further investigation. The theoretical foundations fundamental in explaining a causal intergenerational link are shaken by our grounded theory approach.

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