Stanford University

ESS Ph.D. Defense: Characterizing Health and Behavior Among Homeless by Mary-Catherine Anderson

Thursday, Oct 14, 2021 8:30 AM
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Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Department of Earth System Science


       This dissertation research seeks to understand how the “homeless” environment, a complex ecosystem comprised of social and biophysical environmental dimensions, is associated with well-being among people experiencing homelessness in Nashville, TN. Specifically, I aim to understand how this environment may affect health and behavior through both direct pathways, such as through environmental exposure, and indirect pathways, such as through the mediating influence of social connections. I begin by empirically assessing environmental (i.e. seasonality) and social (i.e. social support) correlates of self-reported physical and emotional health among unsheltered PEH. Next, I investigate whether PEH form a group, or social identity around their shared characteristic of homelessness and explore norms of generosity and fairness using an experimental dictator game. Finally, I use a representative spatially distributed network of a homeless population constructed using my field-generated dataset of N=246 homeless individuals’ social networks to estimate the expected mortality from COVID-19 among PEH (Chapter 3). 

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