Guided by the social model of disability, we carried out this exploratory study to better understand the health and psychosocial needs of women living in social housing in Canada. Using a sequential, mixed-methods design, we interviewed 19 women using a 126-item quantitative interview including six standardized measures exploring indicators of psychosocial well-being. Based on these findings, we designed a qualitative interview protocol and returned to participants. We calculated descriptive statistics for all quantitative variables and used thematic analysis to analyze qualitative data. Participants reported a median of six unmet basic psychosocial needs (range 1-16; IQR=6), a high prevalence of mental and physical health conditions and associated disability with scores falling above the 80th percentile on all subtests of a disability measure. Qualitative findings revealed that participants were living in an environment that made it challenging to meet their basic needs, leading to feelings of abandonment. A persistent lack of safety left them living in fear and led to self-isolation, which negatively influenced mental well-being. Social housing is aimed at alleviating poverty and its associated harms, yet women face multiple barriers to meeting their basic needs through existing supports and continue to experience poverty. In its current form, social housing environments can disable individuals living in poverty, and lead to ongoing difficulty with meeting basic needs. Future participatory research is needed to identify potential opportunities for reducing barriers to daily functioning for social housing tenants.
Date Presented 04/05/19 Women in social housing are situated in environments that may impose negative impacts on their psychosocial health. We used an exploratory, sequential, mixed-methods design to identify the met and unmet psychosocial needs and disabilities experienced by this population. Several psychosocial needs of the women went unmet, and disability was significant. Participants identified several areas for how their needs could be addressed. Research and practice implications will be explored. Primary Author and Speaker: Carrie Anne Marshall Contributing Authors: Carina Tjornstrand, Fiona Drake, Emily Downs, Rebecca Eerkes