Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Olivia G. Washington


African Americans comprise 12% of the American population and 45% of the homeless sheltered population (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD], 2007). The fastest growing segment is African American women and African American women with children. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between spiritual resources, self-efficacy, life attitudes, cognition, and personal characteristics (e.g., physical and mental health, age, marital status, number of children, number and length of times homeless and perceptions of being at risk for serious illness) of homeless African American women from 30 years of age and older who were trying to become domiciled. This nonexperimental exploratory, descriptive research study used data collected as part of a larger study on African American women and homelessness. A total of 160 women participated in the study by completing a demographic interview with the researcher, the Life Attitudes Scale, the Self-Efficacy Scale, and the Faith, Religion, and Spiritual Resources (FSRQ) Scale. To determine if cognitive ability was impaired, the women completed the Mini-Mental State (MSSE) exam. Women who scored less than 23 on this test were excluded from the study. The findings of this study indicated that self-reported physical and mental health were not related to the three subscales, homeless faith coping, instrumental religion, and spiritual resources on the FSRQ. The relationships between general and social self-efficacy and life attitudes were not mediated by the three subscales and total scores for the FSRQ. No statistically significant correlations were obtained between the FSRQ and the 11 measures of the MMSE. However, a statistically significant correlation was found between total scores for the FSRQ and the MMSE. Number of times homeless and length of time homeless were predictive of faith, instrumental coping, and spiritual resources. The age cohorts differed on life attitudes (purpose in life, death acceptance, and existential transcendence). Further research is needed to explore the role of spirituality in helping African American homeless women move into domiciled living. Nursing interventions can be developed to help the women use their spirituality to develop self-efficacy that can help improve their life attitudes.