Hetling’s research agenda focuses on the implementation and efficacy of U.S. social welfare policies. She is particularly interested in the impact of programs and policy on the economic well-being of vulnerable populations. Her projects focus on families and women living in poverty and on survivors of intimate partner violence. Hetling works with a number of civic organizations, sharing her research and expertise and supporting their efforts to improve social service programs. She is a Research Academy member of the National Association of Welfare and Research Statistics and a Research Affiliate of the National Poverty Center.
Evaluates the factor structure, reliability, and validity of using the Financial Strain Survey (FSS) with IPV survivors. Indicates that the FSS is a reliable instrument for use with IPV survivors and discusses the FSS as a practical tool for both practice and research with this population.
Indicates that state rules matter and should be considered as a potential mechanism to change the dynamics of economic disconnection. Finds that women in states with lifetime limits of less than 60 months are more likely to be disconnected. Argues that more generous welfare benefits are associated with a lesser risk of disconnection, while diversion programs are associated with a greater risk of disconnection compared to welfare receipt
Revisits a scale that was designed in 1993 and tests its validity with a sample of low-income survivors of intimate partner violence. Discusses how the resulting Scale of Economic Self-Sufficiency–14 (SESS-14) relates to policy, practice, and research.
Uses an experimental design to evaluate the impact of a financial literacy curriculum on self-reported financial knowledge and behaviors of survivors of intimate partner violence. Indicates a strong effect of the curriculum on both outcomes and supports expansion of similar programs.
Examines how potential clients view an online application and whether or not the quality of the technology affects perceptions. Utilizes focus groups to assess the perceived benefits and barriers to using online applications.