Assessing Social Support Predictors for Residential Stability Among Formerly Homeless Youth, Research Paper Example

Research Topic

Youth who have faced homelessness in the past face critical challenges in their efforts to acclimate to residential living. They are typically provided with a level of support and encouragement in these environments that they have not experienced elsewhere. Therefore, they must rely upon the social resources that are available to achieve greater outcomes. It is important for social services and support systems to recognize the level of vulnerability of this population group and the impact that their services might have on youth progress. It is believed that social services and organized interventions provide significant support and guidance for youth who face homelessness and other related challenges because these interventions provide an opportunity to explore options that have not been available in the past and that encourage their growth and maturity in a nurturing environment (Altena, 2010). At the same time, homelessness and related experiences are often traumatic and create a challenging environment for youth upon which personal growth and opportunity might be achieved (Williams, 2001).

This topic is related to my academic area of interest because it considers the impact of social services and support systems on disadvantaged populations, such as homeless persons. This reflects a capacity to engage in research that specifically supports this group and the challenges that they face as they acclimate into residential living in an effective manner. This is critical to their ongoing growth, development, and maturity through adolescence and into adulthood, and also to the field as a whole.

Research Literature Review

Homeless youth who transition into residential living are continuously challenged by their new environment and the changes that they face in this setting. Therefore, social services and support systems must continuously focus on these efforts and how they support youth in these settings so that they are prepared to manage the realities of daily living in different environments (Slesnick, 2009). Under these conditions, it is expected that youth will face problems in their efforts not only to acclimate, but to face discipline, structure, and control over their activities and behaviors (Karbanow and Clement, 2004). These findings suggest that youth must learn how to overcome their own issues with their current behaviors so that they are prepared to manage the realities of a new living situation (Karbanow and Clement, 2004). It is expected that these efforts will encourage formerly homeless youth to take advantage of the guidance and support that is offered to them and to consider the factors that are most effective in enabling them to grow and thrive in this type of environment (Karbanow and Clement, 2004).

Research Problem

Homeless youth face significant concerns in this type of environment. Therefore, if they transition to a residential environment, support services and guidance must be continuously available to provide them with surroundings that are comfortable and supportive of their specific needs. The appropriate intervention services must be identified and supported by predictors that will facilitate improved outcomes for homeless youth through the transition to residential living over time. It is important to utilize the assistance of knowledgeable experts and other forms of support so that homeless youth are able to overcome adversity in a nurturing environment (Kurtz, 2000). Furthermore, it is expected that social support systems will serve as effective forms of intervention to support homeless youth and their needs in an effective manner (Ferguson and Xie, 2008).

Research Question

The primary research question to consider is as follows: What are the key predictors of success in the transition of homeless youth to residential living through the utilization of social support services? How are these services utilized in a manner that is cost effective, efficient, and most productive for the needs of this unique population group?

Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of the study is to explore the different foundations of social services and support as key forms of intervention for homeless youth in transition to a residential living environment. It is believed that these youth will face critical challenges and potential disciplinary problems during the transition process and therefore, must be provided with a core foundation to improve behaviors, reduce disciplinary activity, and encourage effective growth and development in the new living environment. These are likely to demonstrate the importance of social services and their impact on homeless youth and their transition to new living conditions.

Epistemological Foundations

The proposed research study explores the philosophical foundation of positivism, whereby social providers of support, knowledge, resources, and guidance to enable specific population groups achieve greater than anticipated outcomes under different environmental conditions, given the knowledge that has been acquired to date. This is an important and meaningful tool to support disadvantaged populations who require social support and assistance in different forms. This also reflects the capacity to develop new social support concepts that will facilitate improved results for those in need.

Methodology and Basic Design

The proposed study design must reflect an effective means of measuring the necessary data in order to achieve effective results. Therefore, the most appropriate method for this study is regression using secondary data to complete the analysis. This method will facilitate the use of the appropriate measurements and indicators to enable the sample data to be deciphered and analyzed as accurately as possible. This will also provide additional support in the development of different conclusions that may be applicable to future studies with a similar premise or a focus on other disadvantaged population groups.

Population and Sample

For the proposed study, a population group of approximately 50-80 persons is likely to be appropriate in order to accomplish the desired study objectives. This number of participants will also encourage the development of new ideas and approaches to promoting improved social services and support systems for disadvantaged populations who would otherwise not have the type of assistance that is required to gradually overcome adversity and to be acclimated into new environments.


Altena, A. M., Brilleslijper-Kater, S. N., & Wolf, J. R. (2010). Effective interventions for homeless youth: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 38(6), 637-645.

Ferguson, K. M., & Xie, B. (2008). Feasibility study of the social enterprise intervention with homeless youth. Research on Social Work Practice18(1), 5-19.

Karabanow, J., & Clement, P. (2004). Interventions with street youth: A commentary on the practice-based research literature. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention4(1), 93.

Kurtz, P. D., Lindsey, E. W., Jarvis, S., & Nackerud, L. (2000). How runaway and homeless youth navigate troubled waters: The role of formal and informal helpers. Child and        Adolescent Social Work Journal17(5), 381-402.

Slesnick, N., Dashora, P., Letcher, A., Erdem, G., & Serovich, J. (2009). A review of services and interventions for runaway and homeless youth: Moving forward. Children and youth services review31(7), 732-742.

Williams, N. R., Lindsey, E. W., Kurtz, P., & Jarvis, S. (2001). From Trauma to Resiliency: Lessons from Former Runaway and Homeless Youth. Journal Of Youth Studies4(2), 233-253. doi:10.1080/13676260120057004