Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Catherine Chang

Second Advisor

Brian Dew

Third Advisor

Franco Dispenza

Fourth Advisor

Audrey Leroux


Homelessness is a multifaceted experience involving loss, trauma, physical endangerment, psychiatric symptoms, and alcohol and drug use, and it is frequently associated with worsening well-being (Davies & Allen, 2017; Dordick, 2002; Henry et al.; Johnstone et al., 2016; Somers et al., 2015). Individuals experiencing homelessness are in a constant state of survival, characterized by confusing and overwhelming service structures, and social stigmatization. Homeless services are often restrictive in choices over aspects of treatment and accommodation, requiring services users to engage with treatment in exchange for continued accommodation in hopes of the service user achieving positive recovery outcomes. Previous researchers have shown that choice plays an important role in recovery (Manning & Greenwood, 2019), and linked factors that promote self-determination in the individual to positive outcomes in services (Greenwood & Manning, 2017; Krabbenborg et al., 2017; Reis et al., 2000; Samuolis et al., 2006). Utilizing factors of choice, relatedness, and mastery, homeless services can potentially increase recovery outcomes. Our first hypothesis was partially supported as the results from correlation analysis showed a pattern of correlates indicating that as choice, mastery and relatedness increased so did well-being; while psychiatric symptoms decreased as choice and mastery increased. Results for our second hypothesis also received partial support. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that mastery was the greatest predictor of psychiatric symptoms and well-being, while relatedness accounted for the more variance in alcohol and drug use. Finally, the results from parallel mediation analyses showed a significant total indirect effect of choice on psychiatric symptoms and well-being, but not alcohol and drug use. However, the relationship between choice and all three recovery outcomes were mediated by mastery. Consequently, relatedness did not show a significant indirect effect on any of the recovery outcomes. These results support that the relationship between choice and the recovery outcomes is carried through mastery as relatedness does not contribute significantly to the indirect effect. Thus, hypothesis 3 was not supported. The results of hypothesis 3 should be interpreted with caution as the parallel mediation conducted was statistically underpowered due to insufficient sample size.


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