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Stress and Support Among People Caring for Homeless Adult Relatives

Family and Health: Evolving Needs, Responsibilities, and Experiences

ISBN: 978-1-78441-126-8, eISBN: 978-1-78441-125-1

Publication date: 20 October 2014



This research documents the responsibilities and stresses of people with homeless relatives. Health and housing problems create a variety of challenges and sometimes burdens within families which are particularly stressful for family caregivers who are actively involved with helping homeless adults.


Our study and data examine stress proliferation and stress buffering among people with homeless relatives using quantitative data from 118 interviews, mostly with parents and siblings of homeless adults.


Quantitative data from 118 interviews, largely from parents and siblings of homeless adults, show that people who spend more time or money helping homeless relatives experience higher levels of stress. Stress levels are also higher among those who help a homeless relative with activities of daily living and those who work to prevent harm that involves a homeless relative. Stress derived from efforts to prevent harm is associated with stronger social support to people with homeless relatives.


Social and health service providers can provide helpful social support for both homeless people and for people with homeless relatives, particularly in circumstances where harm reduction is required.




This research was funded by grants to the first author from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) and The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) #R03-DA14364-01. The contents of this article do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Polgar, M.F., North, C.S. and Pollio, D.E. (2014), "Stress and Support Among People Caring for Homeless Adult Relatives", Family and Health: Evolving Needs, Responsibilities, and Experiences (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 8B), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-245.



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