Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Bruce Zahn, Ed.D, ABPP, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Petra Kottsieper, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Stewart Barbera, Psy.D.


In 2004, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty indicated that approximately 3.5 million people experienced homelessness. The literature indicates that families, specifically female-headed ones, are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. The development of transitional housing has shown promise by seeking to move these homeless families towards independent living. A qualitative study based in grounded theory was utilized to explore the experiences of 10 female homeless participants at two regional transitional living facilities. Consistent themes that emerged included dissolution of relationships and a lack of personal supports as being the primary pathways that lead to homelessness. Concrete goals of women in transition focused on establishing housing and steady vocation. In an attempt to identify potential constructive programming congruent with the needs of homeless mothers, results overwhelmingly indicated that this population would benefit from problem-solving training, as well as additional networking opportunities. Application of the recovery model to the phenomenon of homelessness is also presented.