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Effects of social networks on the wellbeing of formerly homeless adults in supportive housing: a mixed-method case study




Addo, Reuben, author
Buchan, Victoria, advisor
Gloeckner, Gene, committee member
Unnithan, Prabha, committee member
Yuma, Paula, committee member

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Although a number of studies have investigated the social networks of homeless individuals, very few studies have investigated social networks of formerly homeless individuals in supportive housing programs. How social networks influence the wellbeing of adults in supportive housing programs is limited in the literature. This study explored the nature of social networks and the effects of social networks on psychological wellbeing of formerly homeless adults in a supportive housing program. A mixed-method embedded-design case study was utilized for this study, combining both quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative methods were predominant, with qualitative data used to compliment the quantitative strand. Data from (N = 80) formerly homeless adults were collected to examine the effects of social networks on psychological wellbeing. A subset of (n = 20) participants were selected to explore the nature of social networks prior to entering a supportive housing program. Analyses included descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, multiple regressions, and conditional process modeling. Results indicate social network variables differed by demographic and situational characteristics. Network size and emotional closeness, for example, varied by gender. Participants with lower perceived social support also tended to have lower psychological wellbeing. Perceived social support mediated the relationship between social network structure and psychological wellbeing. Qualitative results suggest participants restricted their social interactions while they were homeless. Their experiences prior to entering homelessness and during homelessness shaped the structure of their social interactions. Based on the results of this study, I recommend that supportive housing programs include initial assessments of social networks, especially supportive networks, in order for social support interventions to be incorporated in case management plans for participants with low perceived social support. Qualitative results suggest homeless interventions may include assisting homeless individuals to develop positive social support networks.


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mixed-method research
supportive housing
social networks
formerly homeless


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