Date of Award

Fall 1988

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Fehring, Richard J.

Second Advisor

Stollenwerk, Ruth M.

Third Advisor

Moberg, David O.


There is a paucity of research published regarding the human condition of homelessness. Based on the premise that spiritual well-being and self-esteem enhance quality of life and coping, this study sought to describe the spiritual well-being and self-esteem, as well as investigate the relationship between these variables, in a homeless population. The investigator tested three hypotheses: 1) there is a positive relationship between spiritual well-being and self-esteem in a homeless population; 2) there is a positive relationship between religious well-being and self-esteem in a homeless population ; and 3) there is a positive relationship between existential well-being and self-esteem in a homeless population. One hundred and one subjects were obtained via a convenience and systematic selective sampling technique from one Midwest metropolitan meal site and one Midwest metropolitan shelter site. A quantitative (descriptive correlational) as well as qualitative (grounded theory) approach was utilized. Ellison and Palputzian's (1979) Spiritual Well-Being Scale and Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale were administered to by each of the 101 subjects. In addition, a representative sample of 20 subjects responded to an open-ended interview process which was constructed by the investigator. The quantitative data was analyzed using the Pearson's product moment correlation coefficient with a 0.05 level of significance. Constant comparative analysis of the qualitative data produced nine categories/recurrent themes describing the phenomena of interest and relationships between them. The three research hypotheses were accepted as predicted. There was a positive correlation between spiritual well-being and self-esteem (r=.5713), religious well-being and self-esteem (r=.4555), and existential well-being and self-esteem (r=.6068). A surprising finding was the very high level of spiritual well-being and self-esteem present in the population. The data in the qualitative analysis was strongly supportive of that found in the quantitative analysis. The data results demonstrate that there is a linking, overlap, or integration of the components of spiritual well-being and self-esteem. The nature of this relationship is an area for future research. Spiritual well-being and self-esteem may be valuable to the homeless in dealing with the complexities of everyday living by bringing a sense of peace, joy, and security. By facilitating growth and development of these dimensions, perhaps Nursing can assist the homeless cope with suffering and survival, and uplift the quality of their existence.



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