This exploratory, three phase qualitative research project gives a voice to preschool aged children experiencing homelessness to identify the significant relationships in their lives. Goals of this research included the exploration of: the central relationships of children experiencing homelessness, who children identify as important people in those relationships, how they describe those relationships, and how those relationships were formed. This research approach utilized a community participatory model in which the children's mothers contributed to the direction of the research project through group interviews. Children were observed for four months and then interviewed while completing three activities. The results suggested three main categories of relationship: kinship, community kinship, and peer relationships. Additionally, staff and other supportive relationships in the community were considered and implications for community development were explored. Specific recommendations for family and staff at the facility were provided and methodological considerations were also discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Homeless children -- Psychology; Preschool children -- Psychology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rowe, Daryl M.;