Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Graduate School of Social Work

First Advisor

Daniel Brisson

Second Advisor

Kim Gorgens

Third Advisor

Deborah Avant

Fourth Advisor

Anamika Barman-Adhikari


Traumatic brain injury, Homelessness


The rates of TBI are significantly higher among individuals experiencing homelessness compared to the general population. Up to half of individuals experiencing homelessness may have a TBI. Accurate prevalence rates of TBI among individuals experiencing homelessness are difficult to obtain due to different methods of sampling participants and differing definitions of TBI; therefore, estimates may be underrepresented. Despite past research that has examined the relationship between TBI and homelessness, there are specific gaps in knowledge such as correlates and risk factors of TBI among individuals experiencing homelessness. This three-manuscript dissertation attempts to address these gaps in knowledge.

The first manuscript examined the temporal relationship between TBI and homelessness. This relationship is hypothesized as bi-directional, as factors associated with homelessness may increase the risk of TBI, while at the same time, factors associated with TBI may impact one’s housing stability. The directionality and mental health correlates were examined. Findings showed higher rates of reported TBI among a sample of adults experiencing homelessness compared to what current literature suggests, further suggesting that TBI may be a significant risk factor of homelessness.

Manuscript two arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access to resources were restricted for housed and unhoused individuals. Manuscript two studied the impact that COVID-19 had on access to resources among individuals experiencing homelessness and a TBI. Qualitative findings revealed that basic/biological needs, financial needs, and lack of social support were more restricted by COVID-19 among individuals experiencing homelessness and a TBI. Continued innovations such as tiny home villages, safe parking lots, and safe camping spaces are recommended to provide safety and a sense of community among unhoused individuals.

Manuscript three studied the role of social support among individuals experiencing homelessness and a TBI. Positive social support among individuals experiencing homelessness and a TBI is important because it can serve as a protective factor against stress, substance use, and housing instability. The consequences of a TBI along with risk factors for homelessness, specifically substance use, can impact social support. Findings showed that substance use was a barrier to staying housed and rates of social support were low across the sample.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Stephanie A. Chassman


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

200 pgs


Social work