Stress and support among people caring for homeless adult relatives

Michael F. Polgar, Carol S. North, David E. Pollio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose — This research documents the responsibilities and stresses of people with homeless relatives. Health and housing problems create a variety of challenges and sometimes burdens within families which are particularly stressful for family caregivers who are actively involved with helping homeless adults. Design — Our study and data examine stress proliferation and stress buffering among people with homeless relatives using quantitative data from 118 interviews, mostly with parents and siblings of homeless adults. Findings — Quantitative data from 118 interviews, largely from parents and siblings of homeless adults, show that people who spend more time or money helping homeless relatives experience higher levels of stress. Stress levels are also higher among those who help a homeless relative with activities of daily living and those who work to prevent harm that involves a homeless relative. Stress derived from efforts to prevent harm is associated with stronger social support to people with homeless relatives. Value — Social and health service providers can provide helpful social support for both homeless people and for people with homeless relatives, particularly in circumstances where harm reduction is required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-245
Number of pages23
JournalContemporary Perspectives in Family Research
Volume8B
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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