Perceptions of Resiliency and Coping: Homeless Young Adults Speak Out

Sanna J. Thompson, Tiffany N. Ryan, Katherine L. Montgomery, Angie Del Prado Lippman, Kimberly Bender, Kristin Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This study explored the perceptions of resilience and coping among homeless young adults, a focus that differs from previous research by considering the unconventional resilience and coping of this high-risk population. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with 45 homeless young adults. Individual interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by coders using an iterative process of content analysis. Findings revealed four primary themes that highlight perceptions of resiliency and coping, including individual strengths, positive life perspective, external social supports, and individual coping strategies. Implications for professionals working with this population suggest that developing and strengthening programs tailored to utilize homeless young adults’ resiliency may be beneficial. Recognizing the strengths and resilience that homeless young adults are capable of, and incorporating a strength-based perspective to empower these young adults, may encourage positive choices and increase the likelihood of transitioning out of homelessness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-76
Number of pages19
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • emerging adulthood
  • homelessness
  • qualitative methods
  • resiliency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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