Published November 22, 2019
Congratulations to PhD student Berg Miller and Assistant Professor Elizabeth Bowen on the publication of their article "'I know where the rest of my life is going': Attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of resilience for homeless emerging adults."
Miller, B. K., & Bowen, E. A. (2019). “I know where the rest of my life is going”: Attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of resilience for homeless emerging adults. Journal of Social Service Research.
This study contributes to a growing literature about the resilience of youth experiencing homelessness by examining the strengths of a diverse sample of emerging adults with unstable housing. The study addressed the following research question: How is resilience expressed in the lives of emerging adults who are homeless? In-depth interviews were conducted with young adults aged 18–24 in Buffalo, NY (N = 30), and analyzed using qualitative descriptive methodology. The analysis generated five themes highlighting attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of resilience: (1) perceptions of homelessness as a surmountable obstacle, (2) externalization of homelessness, (3) creation of support systems, (4) maintenance of personal health, and (5) use of music and creative expression as emotional outlets. Findings stress the optimism of emerging adults, the benefits of youth-only services, the relevance of harm reduction strategies, and the underutilized potential of music and creative expression as interventions. Based on these findings, this article provides developmentally relevant service recommendations for enhancing resilience at program and systems levels. Future research should address the effectiveness of strengths-based interventions to bolster attitudinal and behavioral dimensions of resilience for young adults experiencing homelessness.