SPS Annual Conference 2013

  • Jessica Rea (Invited speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Understanding the Homeless:Perceived Value Change and Value Differences from the General Population

Objectives: Research into homelessness has focused predominantly on material issues with little research into the psychology of the homeless. Values are believed to be underlying drivers of behaviour, and significant life events have been shown to change the importance people place on values (Bardi et al, 2009). The present research proposed that homeless people’s values would change as a result of homelessness, and consequent value differences may act as a barrier to re-entering the general population.

Design: Values (PVQ, 2001), perceived value change (modified PVQ, 2001), self-esteem (Rosenberg, 1965) and self-mastery (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978) of the London homeless community (n=58) were compared to the general population (n=57) controlling for significant life events.

Methods: The homeless participants were recruited through a shelter and residential facilities for chronic homeless in London. General population participants were recruited via social networking media.

Results: The homeless reported significantly higher levels of perceived value change than the general population. Homelessness was shown as the only life event that significantly predicted perceived value changes. Self-enhancement values were significantly less important to the homeless and were the only values the homeless reported as becoming less important. Universalism and Conservation values were perceived to have become significantly more important to the homeless. Conservation values were significantly more important to the homeless than general population.

Conclusions: Homeless people’s values appear to have acclimatised to reflect the opportunities that are available to them (Schwartz & Bardi, 1997). Future longitudinal research is required to measure actual rather than perceived value change.

Presented as part of invited symposium on value change
Period28 Aug 2013
Event typeConference
LocationExeter, United KingdomShow on map


  • Homeless
  • Values
  • Self mastery
  • Psychology
  • Relationships