Associations Between Homeless Women's Intimate Relationships and Their Health and Well-Being

Published in: Research in Nursing and Health, v. 22, no. 6, Dec. 1999, p. 486-495

by Adeline Nyamathi, Suzanne L. Wenzel, Colleen Keenan, Barbara Leake, Lillian Gelberg

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The purpose of this study was to describe the associations between intimate relationships, characterized in terms of presence or absence of conflictive interaction with the partner, and the health and well-being of homeless women. A sample of 558 homeless women were administered structured interviews by trained nurses or outreach workers of the participants' ethnicity. Women answered questions about their general physical health, health-threatening behaviors (i.e., risky drug and sexual behaviors), health-promoting behaviors (i.e., TB and Pap testing), psychological well-being and symptomatology, self-esteem, coping, and life satisfaction. Women in nonconflictive relationships reported significantly greater psychological well-being, self-esteem, and life satisfaction and less hostility and noninjection drug use than women with conflictive relationships or those without an intimate partner. Women with conflictive relationships were significantly more anxious and depressed than those with nonconflictive relationships. Results suggest that, when possible, it is advisable to involve the intimate partner in programs to facilitate the emotional well-being of homeless women.

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