Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Dr. William J. Benet
Homeless youth face serious obstacles related to obtaining education, healthcare and stable accommodations. Adler’s social interest theory states that an individual’s perceptions impact their motivations and willingness to contribute to society. No research was found that compared the perceptions of homeless youth with nonhomeless at-risk youth using Adler’s theory. The purpose of this mixed method study was to compare perceptions of homeless youth with nonhomeless at-risk youth regarding the impact of public policies in creating obstacles to education, healthcare, and stable accommodations. A quantitative social interest instrument followed by face-to-face interviews was administered to 55 homeless youth and 64 nonhomeless youth ages 19 to 25. The homeless youth included 37 females and 18 males, while the nonhomeless at-risk youth included 52 females and 12 males. Consistent with expectations the homeless youth exhibit lower social interest scores, and more perceived barriers to obtaining education, healthcare and stable accommodations. However; contrary to expectations, the nonhomeless at-risk youth exhibit a greater sense of hopelessness. Overall, 98% of participants feel discouraged and perceive that public policies create obstacles to education, healthcare and stable accommodations. Among the primary obstacles identified were minimum wages, stagnant wages, the need for families to hold multiple jobs to afford rent and health insurance, and the disruptions to education due to multiple relocations. The results of my study suggest that raises in the minimum wage by state government might positively impact the ability of homeless youth and non-homeless at-risk youth to obtain adequate education, healthcare and stable accommodations.
Johnson, Michele Cindy, "Comparison of Social Interest Perceptions of Homeless Youth, and Non-homeless At-risk Youth" (2020). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 8926.