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Life stories of homelessness and substance abuse: The role of the community, relationships and life events

Littlewood, Emma (2013) Life stories of homelessness and substance abuse: The role of the community, relationships and life events. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The following research explores the role of the community, relationships and life events in relation to the causes and experiences of substance abuse and homelessness. Previous research has often ignored the views of those in such circumstances and has maintained a quantitative stance; this research therefore challenging such traditions by incorporating a qualitative methodology involving 5 narrative, semi-structured interviews with 4 individuals suffering from homelessness and/or substance abuse. Interviews lasted between 30 and 60 minutes and were subsequently transcribed for a thematic analysis based on the principles outlined in Braun & Clarke (2006). The analysis uncovered 6 themes: Discrimination, stigmatisation & labelling, Failed services, Benign neglect & damaging relationships, Supportive personal relationships, Mental and physical abuse and Criminal behaviour. The interconnection of each theme allows for a comprehensive insight into the life stories of these individuals. Analysis pointed to the significance of traumatic life events and ineffective services, whilst interpretations can be made to suggest that stereotypes among societies are ever present and that a look into the lives of the homeless and substance abusers is required before dismissing their circumstances as unworthy and self inflicted.

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