Perceived competency and resolution of homelessness among women with substance abuse problems

Deborah Finfgeld-Connett, Tina L. Bloom, E. Diane Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a metasynthesis approach, our aim was to articulate new insights relating to the most efficient and effective means of helping homeless women with substance abuse problems to enhance their well-being and become more stably housed. Distorted perceptions of competency, which are shaped by dysfunctional relationships and mental health problems, make it challenging for women with substance abuse problems to resolve homelessness. Women with particularly low or high levels of perceived competency tend to grapple with challenges related to structure and control, trust, and hopelessness. Therapeutic strategies for approaching these women include careful assessment, caring, personalized structure and control, development of interpersonal trust, instillation of hope, and the targeted use of psychotherapeutic agents and counseling. Framing care for homeless women within the context of perceived competency offers a new way of understanding their plight and shaping interventions to more expeditiously move them toward healthy and stable lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-427
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • addiction/substance use
  • homelessness
  • metasynthesis
  • poverty
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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