The perceived costs and benefits of pet ownership for homeless people in the UK: practical costs, psychological benefits and vulnerability

Howe, Lara and Easterbrook, Matthew (2018) The perceived costs and benefits of pet ownership for homeless people in the UK: practical costs, psychological benefits and vulnerability. Journal of Poverty. ISSN 1087-5549 (Accepted)

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Abstract

We sought to understand why many homeless people own pets despite the associated costs. Thematic analyses of interviews with seven homeless pet-owners indicated that interviewees perceived—not always accurately—that their pets limited their mobility and access to services. However, this was seen as a worthwhile cost for the companionship and sense of responsibility their pets provided, which increased resilience and enabled a reduction in substance abuse. Pet ownership also rendered interviewees psychologically vulnerable as the loss of a pet was highly traumatic and ignited coping mechanisms. We discuss the implications for homeless support services in the UK.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Homelessness; Pets; Rough Sleepers; Psychological support, Vulnerability
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 11:14
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2018 11:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74580

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