Understanding the experience of interacting with service providers from the perspective of homeless women: a phenomenological study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Donna J. Biederman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Tracy Nichols

Abstract: Homeless women have few sources of social support but often interact with service providers to obtain or maintain health enhancing and health sustaining services and resources. Little is known about the quality of service encounters from the perspective of homeless women or if homeless women consider service providers as a source of social support. In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 homeless women to gain a better understanding of the experience of interacting with service providers from their perspective. Using a phenomenological method, 160 significant statements were extracted from participant transcripts; more positive than negative interactions were reported. Significant statements were then condensed into analytic poems in the process of crystallization to afford a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of the service encounter. Significant statements and their formulated meanings were compared within and between transcripts. The 10 themes that emerged fall along a dehumanizing / humanizing continuum primarily separated by the power participants experienced in the interaction and the trust they felt in the service provider. The largest theme "cared for" was then analyzed separately and the experiences of care were found to be commensurate with widely recognized sub-categories of received social support. Ways to optimize homeless women's experience of humanization within the service encounter are suggested. Also, implications for the consideration of social support within the realm of service provision for both researchers and service providers are offered.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Homeless, Humanizing, Phenomenology, Qualitative, Received social support, Women
Homeless women $x Social conditions
Homeless women $x Services for
Social work with the homeless

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