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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(3), 96; doi:10.3390/socsci6030096

Social Network Decay as Potential Recovery from Homelessness: A Mixed Methods Study in Housing First Programming

1
Department of Health Policy & Management, Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, 1050 Wishard Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
2
Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, 1050 Wishard Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 14 August 2017 / Accepted: 17 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Mental Health)
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Abstract

The positive relationship between social support and mental health has been well documented, but individuals experiencing chronic homelessness face serious disruptions to their social networks. Housing First (HF) programming has been shown to improve health and stability of formerly chronically homeless individuals. However, researchers are only just starting to understand the impact HF has on residents’ individual social integration. The purpose of the current study was to describe and understand changes in social networks of residents living in a HF program. Researchers employed a longitudinal, convergent parallel mixed method design, collecting quantitative social network data through structured interviews (n = 13) and qualitative data through semi-structured interviews (n = 20). Quantitative results demonstrated a reduction in network size over the course of one year. However, increases in both network density and frequency of contact with network members increased. Qualitative interviews demonstrated a strengthening in the quality of relationships with family and housing providers and a shedding of burdensome and abusive relationships. These results suggest network decay is a possible indicator of participants’ recovery process as they discontinued negative relationships and strengthened positive ones. View Full-Text
Keywords: homelessness; Housing First; social networks; egocentric networks; social integration; serious mental illness; substance use disorder; mixed methods homelessness; Housing First; social networks; egocentric networks; social integration; serious mental illness; substance use disorder; mixed methods
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MDPI and ACS Style

Golembiewski, E.; Watson, D.P.; Robison, L.; Coberg II, J.W. Social Network Decay as Potential Recovery from Homelessness: A Mixed Methods Study in Housing First Programming. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 96.

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