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A theory based evaluation of an intervention to promote positive health behaviors and reduce social isolation in people experiencing homelessness

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social Distress and the Homeless
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Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2019

Abstract

Homelessness adversely affects an individual's ability to access healthcare, opportunities for social interaction and recreational activities such as physical activity. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a community-based physical activity and peer support intervention on the health and wellbeing of homeless participants. This study employed semi-structured interviews to investigate the perceived impact of the Street Fit Scotland intervention on the health and wellbeing of 10 homeless adults. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. A thematic analysis was conducted. Participants reported that their health and wellbeing had improved since attending the intervention. This was attributed to improvements in self-esteem, social interaction and mental wellbeing. Participants generally felt that their physical activity had increased since attending Street Fit Scotland, and a number of individuals reported that they were making healthier choices with regards to health behaviors. A theory of change logic model was developed that demonstrated how each component of the intervention influences the observed and intended outcomes. Attendance of Street Fit Scotland had positive effects on participant's health and wellbeing, particularly concerning self-esteem, health behaviors, social interaction, and physical activity. More efforts should be made to evaluate small-scale interventions that are reaching vulnerable population groups.

    Research areas

  • homelessness, physical activity, social isolation, evaluation, program theory

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