Values, Self-Mastery and Social Support in Homeless Contexts: Implications for Wellbeing and Social Integration

Jessica Rea

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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To identify whether psychological changes occur in the context of homelessness and potentially precede improvements in housing, a series of three mixed-method studies were conducted. These included an interview study with twenty homeless people, a cross-sectional study quantitatively comparing psychological differences between homeless and housed groups (n=323), and a longitudinal study exploring the relationship between psychological changes and subsequent changes in housing status for a mixture of both homeless and housed participants (n=93). The studies found that homeless people perceived changes in their values, self-mastery, mental health and social support related to their homelessness experiences. Homeless participants had higher conservation value preferences, and lower self-enhancement and self-transcendence value preferences, compared with housed groups. Homeless participants also reported significantly lower levels of self-mastery, mental health and perceived social support than housed groups. Psychological changes including increases in mental health, self-mastery and the importance of self-transcendence values, as well as decreases in the importance of openness-to-change values, were associated with later improvements in housing. The findings that homeless people quantifiably differ from housed groups in terms of their value preferences and sense of self-mastery, and that related changes in these factors over time are associated with improvements in housing outcomes for people suggest potential for psychologically informed support interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Bardi, Anat, Supervisor
Award date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019


  • Homeless
  • Social Support
  • Mental Health
  • Wellbeing
  • Self-mastery
  • Personal control
  • Values
  • Autonomy
  • Social integration
  • Social exclusion

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