'Trials and tribulations': the ambivalent influence of temporary accommodation on mental health recovery in chronically homeless adults

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Abstract

Relatively few studies have explicitly examined whether and how shelter-type, temporary or emergency accommodation shapes homeless clients’ personal (mental health) recovery. A transatlantic phenomenological qualitative study was conducted to examine the influence of those services on personal recovery. Eighteen chronically homeless adults with a history of serious mental illness were recruited from several temporary accommodation services in New York City (NYC), U.S., and Glasgow, Scotland. Participants completed repeat in-depth interviews and a novel one-week multimedia mobile phone diary. The interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) produced three overarching group experiential themes: ‘everything was just starting to fall into place’; ‘caught in a trap’; and ‘trials and tribulations’. Collectively, the findings underscore the duality of influence of temporary accommodation on recovery. Those ambiguous spaces confronted participants with existential uncertainty, volatility and chronic boredom, but also proffered opportunities for envisioning and enacting recovery. Embarking on recovery while residing in temporary accommodation is possible, even for those enduring chronic life adversity. However, it is contingent upon enabling socio-material, affective and relational resources. Implications are discussed for theorising recovery as a contextually embedded, relational phenomenon, and for providing recovery-oriented support across the housing continuum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-190
Number of pages15
JournalQualitative Health Research
Volume33
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023

Keywords

  • recovery
  • mental health
  • homelessness
  • temporary accommodation
  • qualitative

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