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Title: Perceived discrimination, coping options and their relationship to mental health and psychological distress in homeless adults
Author: Tully, Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5349 8703
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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While homelessness is associated with mental illness, what is not fully understood is how these are connected. In seeking to address this issue the present research uses a social identity approach to consider the relationship between homelessness and mental health, focusing on the roles of perceived discrimination, social identity, social support and coping options. It is guided by previous research which examines the relationship between these factors and mental health for other stigmatised groups. This previous research finds that perceived discrimination is negatively associated with mental health, but stigmatised groups can buffer these negative effects through increased social identity. Two mechanisms have been put forward to explain this buffering effect: social identity provides access to increased ingroup support and also makes group level coping strategies possible. The current research examines whether these findings hold for homeless people. In addition, identity with, and perceived support from family is also considered. A quantitative cross-sectional design was employed to examine these relationships. Data was collected from an opportunistic sample of 188 homeless adults accessing services for homeless people in Yorkshire. The current research finds that homeless people do perceive discrimination and this is associated with negative psychological outcomes. While socially identifying with homeless people is associated with increased perceived ingroup support and group coping options, these do not ameliorate the negative relationship between perceived discrimination and mental health. Moreover, perceived support and group coping options were associated with negative psychological outcomes in certain conditions. The relationships between psychological outcomes and family identity and support were also mixed Overall, these findings highlights the negative association between homelessness and mental health via social identity related processes but unlike other stigmatised minorities, the homeless identity does not provide access to stress buffering resources. The practical implications for services working with homeless people are discussed.
Supervisor: Brennan, Cathy ; Tracey, Farragher ; Odell, Susan Sponsor: Max Hamilton Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available