Daphne L. – BASIS Scottsdale

BASIS Scottsdale Senior Daphne L.

Hoping and Coping: The Homeless Population's Experience with Religious Coping

Project/blog link: Hoping and Coping: The Homeless Population's Experience with Religious Coping
BASIS Advisor: Lyndsay Haag
Internship location: Crossroads
Onsite Mentor: R'Shee Holly, Shelter Coordinator

Project Abstract

In the United States, the number of homeless individuals remains within the hundreds of thousands. This statistic is staggering given the inherent instability of the homeless population, as well as the prevalence of additional stressors, such as substance abuse and mental illness. Homeless individuals are especially in need of coping mechanisms to deal with the disproportionate prevalence of these factors. Due to this population’s lack of resources, religious coping presents itself as the most accessible and effective coping mechanism. However, not all religious coping is beneficial. Religious coping can be broken up into negative and positive religious coping, where the type of coping is directly correlated with the individual’s perspective on God. Therefore, in order to determine what type of coping a person will use, it is imperative to understand how their views on God were created. Thus, this research sought to understand first what coping mechanisms homeless individuals used, and then to connect those mechanisms with past life experiences. A phenomenological study, an interview-based exploration into people’s perceptions and experiences, was employed by conducting interviews with individuals currently residing in homeless shelters. An analysis of the transcripts categorized coping as positive or negative and extracted the major themes from individual experiences. The two types of coping were then correlated with their respective themes to determine if there were any trends in how past experiences inform present coping. Understanding how religious coping mechanisms form is instrumental in aiding professionals to best help the homeless population cope.

Hoping and Coping: The Homeless Population's Experience with Religious Coping