Between a rock and a hard place : seven homeless mothers tell their stories

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dc.contributor.advisor Malone, Judy Ann en_US Dolby, Joyce A. en_US
dc.coverage.spatial n-us--- en_US 2011-06-03T19:37:37Z 2011-06-03T19:37:37Z 1996 en_US 1996
dc.identifier LD2489.Z78 1996 .D65 en_US
dc.description.abstract Homelessness has increased in the United States over the last 15 years, but one of the most distressing trends has been the increase of homeless families. Current literature suggests that healthcare services for the homeless family may be fragmented and difficult to access. Rationale for this study was to gain understanding of homeless families, and therefore increase the effectiveness of nurses working with homeless families.This qualitative study used a Heideggerian hermaneutical phenomenological approach as the philisophical framework. A script of questions and information about the study was presented to mothers at a shelter in a group meeting. The researcher then contacted each mother to learn of the mother's desire regarding participation. Seven mothers participanted. Shelter residents were informed that they may refuse participation or withdraw from the study at any time without prejudice from the researcher. Audio-taped interviews will took place in a private vacant office at the shelter. The researcher transcribed the interviews, eliminating any information (names, cities, agencies, relatives, etc.) that could identify the participants. Transcribed interviews were analyzed for common themes identified by the mothers. Audio-tapes were destroyed after data analysis.Risks involved included possible discomfort as residents discuss issues in their past. Should a mother become emotionally distressed in the interview, the researcher was prepared to assist her to identify coping resources. i ne motners were also iniormeu that, in one unlikely event information was shared that may indicate child abuse, the researcher was required to report child abuse to the State of Indiana. Benefits included ability to express feelings in a confidential setting. A $20 item of jewelry or a household commodity was presented to participants as an honorarium after completion of the interview.The lived experience of being a homeless mother with a family can only be fully understood by the mother who has lived the experience. Six common themes were identified by the mothers who participated in this study. Lack of assistance from biological fathers, or "I can't count on him" was a contributing factor towards the mothers' circumstances. Experience of a recent traumatic event without sufficient coping skills or resources emerged as a second theme, and was described by the quote "I don't know what to do." The third theme regarding the mother's concern for meeting the needs of their children was summarized by the insight "And kid's time don't stop." The perception of ineffective or demeaning treatment by helping agencies or "They really didn't care for me" was the fourth theme. The difficulty of carrying on family life was described in the fifth theme as "Things that are hard". And finally, the sixth theme described the difficulty in finding a residence as the mothers were told by landlords repeatedly, "I really don't have anything right now."The conclusion from the study was that homeless mothers and their familys have many needs not yet met by healthcare and helping agencies. This population is overwhelmed by the stresssors they face, and principles of crisis intervention are not adequately used to assist them. At the same time, these mothers demonstrate a great deal of concern and determination to care for their children.Through this study, nurses can learn of the obstacles common to homeless mothers, and the strengths that assist homeless mothers to persist and meet the needs of their family. By better understanding homeless families, nurses can adopt a more comprehensive approach to address their healthcare needs.
dc.description.sponsorship School of Nursing
dc.format.extent vii, 71, 2 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Homeless women -- United States. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Homelessness -- United States. en_US
dc.title Between a rock and a hard place : seven homeless mothers tell their stories en_US Thesis (M.S.)
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Master's Theses [5318]
    Master's theses submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University master's degree candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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