Othering Homelessness: How Lone Mothers Manage Housing Insecurity in Prince Edward Island, Canada

  • Author / Creator
    MacLellan-Peters, Janis M.
  • Homelessness is a complex socio-economic and political problem that impacts health status and continues to challenge researchers and policy makers in Canada. Individuals and families who lack safe, affordable shelter are heterogeneous and represent almost every facet of society. Although living in poverty is a common denominator for those who experience homelessness, researchers report multiple contributors to housing insecurity including poor mental health, addiction, family violence, unemployment, and insufficient wages. Many of these contributors are understood to be consequences of individual circumstances rather than stemming from much broader socio-economic and political conditions.
    Research that has explored homelessness in Canada has predominantly been conducted in large urban areas. However, in Prince Edward Island, a province with a high percentage of rural residents, there is no research that has examined housing instability among any population, including lone parent mothers. This knowledge gap is a critical omission concerning women, especially for those who live in rural Canada as there is limited understanding of their daily challenges.
    The research question for this study was: How do lone parent mothers manage their lives while living homeless in Prince Edward Island? The methodology used was constructivist grounded theory. Similar to classic grounded theory, constructivist grounded theory aims to create a theoretical understanding of the basic social processes at play that are contributing to a social phenomenon, and how participants respond. The purpose of this doctoral study was to create a theoretical understanding of how and why homelessness among lone parent mothers in PEI is a problematic social-economic problem and how they managed in response to their circumstances.
    Fourteen lone mothers who had experienced homelessness were interviewed at a place and time of their choosing. Following ethics approval, data generation and analysis began immediately and continued in an iterative process until no further discernments were identified. By understanding the lone mothers’ behaviours in response to their socio-ecological circumstances, a social process became apparent which culminated in behaviours of othering the experience of homelessness. A theory titled Othering Homelessness: How Lone Mothers Manage Housing Insecurity in Prince Edward Island, Canada was created based on data analysis to explain this social process.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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