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Human Services


Barbara Benoliel


Older adults in the United States without permanent housing are witnessed living in shelters, cars, and on street corners in many urban centers and older adults now make up a third of the homeless population. There are stressors that may precede, or may result in homelessness, which may also affect older (i.e., age 50 or above) homeless adults' abilities to maintain their self-efficacy, a key to their self- management. This study further explored the lived experiences of self-efficacy among older homeless African American men. A descriptive phenomenological design and individual semi-structured interviews of 10 African American homeless men, aged 50 and older, provided data for analysis to examine and describe the lived experience of how older African American homeless men reestablish themselves in the community and maintain self-efficacy after experiencing homelessness. Additional data for further analysis was collected using the General Self-Efficacy Scale survey and the results were calculated in aggregate. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis, using open coding, co-coders, and organized using Microsoft Word and Excel. Analysis resulted in several codes and categories that led to developing two themes: experiences related to the loss of self-efficacy and experiences and resources needed for regaining of self-efficacy. Overall, in the survey, participants scored moderately high in having decision-making abilities and self-efficacy at that time and moment. Analysis of data from interviews also showed the need for more support for community agencies to provide outreach services. This study contributes to social change by informing social services program leaders and community advocates for homeless services about the needs of this growing population.

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