Wellbeing for homeless people: a Salutogenic approach

A. Dunleavy, L.A. Kennedy, L. Vaandrager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Homelessness affects considerable numbers in the UK and is caused by poverty and social exclusion. Much of the literature on housing and health is disease centric, where the experience of homelessness is described as traumatic, disempowering and socially isolating. Based on the Salutogenic approach, which calls for a positive orientation on health, the aim of this study was to explore the subjective lived experiences of wellbeing in the situated context of homeless people's lives. Nine in-depth qualitative interviews with temporarily housed adults (>25 years) in a socio-economically deprived region of North-west England were held. Accounts of renewed self-confidence, perceived resourcefulness and continual personal participation are said to be supporting wellbeing. A strong belief, or sense of coherence, in internal and external general resistance resources was a critical enabling factor for those living in temporary accommodation. Wellbeing was consistently linked with both social and formal activities; keeping occupied and having a strong sense of purpose were essential to wellbeing. In utilizing a Salutogenic approach we demonstrate how the ‘context and meaning’ of health actions can improve the understanding about the kinds of factors influencing wellbeing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • health-promotion
  • coherence scale
  • qualitative research
  • antonovskys sense
  • model
  • life


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