Stressful life events, social support, coping style, and psychological symptomatology among homeless women

Elizabeth Irene Lopez, Fordham University

Abstract

A popular model of understanding the impact of stress on individuals posits that moderating variables attenuate or buffer the impact of stress on the individual and consequently psychological symptomatology. Two important variables demonstrated as having a buffering capability are social support and coping style. A buffering model was tested in order to explore the possible stress-attenuating effect of both social support and coping style in a population of homeless and housed women. Stress consisted of life events. Moderating variables consisted of functional social support, structural social support, and problem-focused coping. Psychological symptomatology consisted of depressive symptoms and mood disturbance. Paper and pencil questionnaires were administered to 101 homeless and housed women. While the stress-attenuating effect of social support and coping style was not supported, results revealed a number of significant direct effects for structural social support, functional social support and problem-focused coping style in homeless women. Group comparisons revealed that homeless women experienced support and problem-focused coping style in homeless women. Group comparisons revealed that homeless women experienced significantly greater amounts of stressful life events, depressive symptomatology and mood disturbance than housed women. Moreover, homeless women reported lower levels of structural and functional social support than housed women. Implications of these findings suggest that homeless women may be so stressed that social support and coping style may not be able to impact the consequences of stress on psychological symptomatology. Multidimensional research and intervention which is context-specific offers a more promising approach to understanding the psychological symptomatology of the homeless. ^

Subject Area

Social Work|Women's Studies|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Lopez, Elizabeth Irene, "Stressful life events, social support, coping style, and psychological symptomatology among homeless women" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9628341.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9628341

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