Homelessness Research

1456 Words 6 Pages
Homelessness: Why do so many refuse to help? According to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (2005) there are an estimated 100 million homeless individuals in the world. In the United States alone there are estimated over 600,000 Americans who suffer from homelessness on any given night according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than one quarter of these individuals are children under the age of 18 (2014). Homelessness is an issue that has been decreasing in America over the past decade due to programs initiated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It has since declined two percent from 2013 to 2014, but this does not necessarily suggest that the issue of homelessness is not …show more content…
This is a form of a defensive attribution that is an explanation for behavior that defends from feelings of weakness and impermanence (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, 2012). In 1990, Harper, Wagstaff, Newton, and Harrison studied the relationship between the belief in a just world and views of poverty in Third World countries. Their research found that there was a significant positive correlation between belief in a just world and the tendency to blame the poor for poverty. Another study by Baumgartner, Bauer, and Bui (2012) hypothesized that participants who scored higher on belief in a just world would have more negative attitudes toward homeless individuals. This hypothesis was supported, and participants with a stronger belief in a just world had a more negative attitude toward homeless people. It seems as though people who view the world as just are more likely to believe that people usually get what they deserve. As a result, people feel less sympathy toward homeless individuals because they believe the homeless are deserving of their situation (Baumgartner, Bauer, and Bui, …show more content…
He found that most researchers focused on demographics or disabilities. He points towards research’s lack of concern for external causes of homelessness and suggests that this skewed perception has left the public with only internal variables to decipher. In these cross-sectional individual-difference approach studies, O’Niell found that implications of such research is that the disadvantaged could cope with difficult circumstances if only they had the right way of thinking about their problems. However, a study done by Michelle Fine (1992) pointed out that psychological theories of coping assume that a person has resources to draw from, and the instruments used to measure coping styles reflected that assumption. These measures, and research may be trivial to a family with no home and no seeming means to acquire one. The misconception of treating social problems such as homelessness as though it were only a product of individual differences, has also been pointed out by Kay McChesney (1990). She demonstrated this concept through the use of musical chairs as a metaphor. “Think about low-income households as the players and affordable housing units as the chairs. When the music stops, if there are more low income households than there are affordable units, then some people will be homeless.” (McChesney 1990). While individual

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