Online Program

Community participation, health and quality of life of homeless people s/a

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Feng-Hang Chang, MPH, Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, Rehabilitation Science, Boston University, Boston, MA
Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, MA
Objectives: Previous research has suggested that homeless individuals have great difficulty engaging in the community, which may influence their social functioning, health and quality of life (QOL). However, very few studies have fully explored this topic. The aims of this study were to: (1) describe how homeless individuals participate in the community; (2) examine the association between community participation and self-perceived health and QOL. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 104 participants from six homeless housing placement programs and shelters in U.S. metropolitan areas. All participants completed a demographic form and established assessment tools that measure QOL, health, and functional limitations. Community participation is measured by the Community Participation Scale (CPS), a newly developed instrument that assesses three domains: work, social and leisure, and healthcare use. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between community participation and health and QOL. Results: The majority of the participants participated in healthcare use activities (86.5%) and social and leisure activities (77.88%), while over half of the participants did not participate in any work related activities (52.5%). Participants' average QOL and health were both significantly correlated to community participation (p<0.05), and particularly related to social and leisure participation. Conclusion: Most of the participants were involved in diverse community activities, especially for healthcare use and social/leisure activities. Reasons for participating in these activities will be discussed. The associations between community participation and health and QOL reflected the significance of community participation. Future longitudinal studies are recommended to test the causal relationship.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the pattern that people who are currently homeless or housed through housing programs participate in the healthcare use, social and leisure, and work related activities. Identify the relationship between homeless people’s community participation and their health and quality of life Explain the possible reasons of the participation patterns that homeless people demonstrated in the community.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in rehabilitation sciences program and have been the principal investigator of a research grant focusing on life skills intervention effect on homeless people in various housing programs. Some of my previous work has been published in scientific journals. My research interests are in implementing rehabilitation interventions and developing measurement tools for people who are homeless and/or with disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.