Maintaining Connectedness: Exploring the Experiences of Older Homeless Men Living in Hostel Accommodation

Natasha Holt, Julie Christian, Michael Larkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older homeless people are likely to have additional support needs in relation to well-being and housing. This study focuses on the experiences of hostel living for older, long-term homeless men in the UK. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 10 participants. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. There were three main themes identified, which capture the men's concerns and the means by which they coped with the hostel environment: 'contingent sense of well-being in the hostel', 'importance of connectedness to others' and 'balancing independence with reliance on others'. Running through all the themes was a sense that three fundamental processes were in play: threat to material safety, threat to self-identity and threat to autonomy. Psychosocial implications of this study, for those working with homeless people, might involve addressing inequities of power, maintaining continuity of self-identity and facilitating the development of a sense of connectedness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-501
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • Agency
  • Experience
  • Homelessness
  • Identity
  • Older adults


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