The lived experiences of homeless men.

Abstract

To investigate the phenomenon of social disaffiliation in homeless men, a qualitative study was conducted that used a framework of Bahr's (1973) social disaffiliation theory. Ten homeless men were interviewed to determine their reasons for becoming homeless, their feelings about being homeless, and the specific resources they used for maintaining life on the streets. Using a semistructured interview, audiotapes were made of the responses of the 10 men, 20 to 61 years old, who were using a shelter for the homeless in a U.S. southern city. For data analysis, Giorgi's phenomenological approach (cited in Omery, 1983) was used. Activities and resources that the men used to meet their social, economic, and other needs were described. The following three major themes were identified: rejection, uncertainty, and social isolation. Recommendations include changing nursing curricula and conducting staff development programs, testing interventions to alleviate social isolation, and assisting the homeless to return to the societal mainstream.

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