Occupational Identity: Experiences of homeless women who are termed rough sleepers
Abstract: It is estimated approximately 660 people sleep rough in Scotland every night. The prevalence of women sleeping rough is a growing issue in Scotland. It is identified by research in the UK that women who sleep rough are more likely to have specific support needs to men and have experienced traumas, including domestic abuse, mental ill health, substance misuse, and have self-harmed. However, when women sleep rough they make themselves less visible in order to stay safe, therefore little is known about their experiences. Women homelessness is under-reported as the focus tends to be on single males, or women with children (Williams 2018). Many people who are rough sleepers are faced with challenges when participating in activities of daily living such as self-care, toileting, cooking and eating. Individuals can struggle to engage in occupations that are meaningful to them and loose connection with what they enjoyed. Homelessness can impact on a person and their identity including losing a sense of who they are, what their roles are and what their values are. While some literature focuses on homelessness, single women rough sleeper’s perspective is unclear. Aim: This research aims to explore the experiences of single women rough sleepers and the impact this has on their occupational identity. Methods: A phenomenological approach will be adopted to explore the experiences of 8 single women who are rough sleeping. This will be achieved using face to face semi-structured interviews, carried out with each woman. Expected Outcomes: It is hoped this research will uncover the experiences of single women when sleeping rough and how this impacts their occupational identity. This in turn will add to the evidence-base and inform better occupational therapy practice and other professionals when working with this population.