Thomas, Shemeica Deborah (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis explores current assumptions surrounding why homeless people use outreach service programmes from a social psychological perspective. Specifically, within this, 2 main aims are tested: 1) The validity of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB; Ajzen 1988, 1991) and suggested additional avenues to this, in predicting homeless people’s use of outreach service programmes, and 2) To tackle methodological issues arising from prior social psychological research in this domain. There are 4 studies in this thesis. Study 1 (Chapter 4) addresses the issue of fine tuning research methods and applications that would be used later in this programme of research, and tests the relevance of social psychological theory to homeless people’s service use. The findings show interesting associations between perceived behavioural control (PBC)/ efficacy and homelessness issues. Study 2 (Chapter 5) examines the utility of single item questions of the direct measure of the TPB, as well as single items of additional avenues such as social identity/self-categorisation perspectives (SIT/SCT; Tajfel & Turner, 1979), self-esteem and affective functioning. PBC emerged as the only predictor of intentions to use services. Study 3 (Chapter 6) has two aims. First, to test a multi-domain measure based on the TPB, SIT/SCT framework, and second, to examine the predictive contribution of social cognitive influences and socio-demographic variables to intentions to use service programmes. The multi-domain measure did not show utility, yet attitude, ‘coping’ thinking style and ethnicity predicted intentions to use services. Lastly, the main aim of Study 4 (Chapter 7) was to test the utility of an efficacy based intervention on the empowerment of homeless people. The intervention showed to increase perceptions of control and decrease negative affect. I conclude that (a) the utility of the TPB framework can be strengthened with additional avenues, and (b) a PBC/efficacy intervention can empower homeless people into securing more permanent accommodation.
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