Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education


College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Schultheiss, Donna

Subject Headings

Counseling Psychology


This study sought to better understand how currently homeless men have met their work needs through a mix of formal and informal work across their lives. The Biographical Narrative Interview Method (BNIM), a qualitative method that seeks to analyze biographical narratives related in interviews, was utilized to collect and analyze the data. The loss of blue-collar jobs, criminal histories, and substance abuse difficulties all served to circumscribe the work available to these men. Nevertheless, participants negotiated these circumstances, as well as early traumas, to build complex work histories. Social connection emerged as a central need participants met through work. The status provided by jobs was also very important, as many participants wanted to be viewed positively, especially given perceived societal biases against them. Participants described several other psychological needs met by work, including survival, time structure, competence, and autonomy. Interconnections between needs and societal phenomena, such as the loss of blue collar jobs, were observed in the narratives.