Date of Graduation

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Committee Member

William Schwab

Second Committee Member

Steven Worden

Keywords

Homelessness, Life Chances, Life Choices, Quality of Life

Abstract

This study examines the role that life chances and choices play in determining quality of life among homeless people. Given the prominent negative impact of homelessness, this paper specifically examines the impact of length of time homeless and location on adverse quality of life. Data from Birmingham, Alabama and Northwest Arkansas Point-in-Time Homeless Census' was utilized and combined to create a sample of 264 homeless individuals. Using a quantitative approach, the topic of adverse quality of life for the homeless is analyzed through a three-model OLS regression, using a life chances and choices framework, with the addition of experiential context--time and place. Statistical analysis shows no significant impact of life choices on quality of life but a significant impact of life chances such as strong social ties and mastery of fate, on adverse quality of life. Length of time homeless yielded a significant impact on quality of life, but location did not, indicating that the homeless experience with regards to subjective quality of life did not vary between Birmingham and Northwest Arkansas.

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