Changing attitudes toward the homeless: The effects of prosocial communication with the homeless
Abbreviated Journal Title
J. Soc. Distress Homeless
attitude changes; homeless; homelessness; prosocial communication; behavioral intentions; Social Work
One hundred, thirty-four undergraduate students participated in a field experiment designed to examine the effects of extended, prosocial communication with homeless persons, upon attitudes toward the homeless problem, of behavioral intentions towards the homeless, and of causal attributions about homelessness. It was expected that prosocial interaction with the homeless would produce shifts in attitudes and behavioral intentions toward the homeless and homelessness and result in greater attributions of external causes to explain homelessness. Nineteen experimental participants worked 15 hours at a local homeless shelter Their responses to a posttest questionnaire that measured a range of attitudinal and behavioral or orientations toward the homeless were compared with control participants who did not work at the shelter Subsequent analyses furnished strong evidence of positive changes in attitudes and intentions toward homelessness among the shelter workers, These participants evaluated homeless people as less blameworthy and more socially attractive than did control participants; moreover shelter workers indicated more personal responsibility and behavioral commitment to helping the homeless than control participants. They also perceived the homeless problem to be more serious and were more likely to attribute homelessness to bad luck than control participants, However the two groups were equally likely to attribute homelessness to various external causes such as the Economy, housing costs, and governmental policies. The results ave interpreted as having policy implications for volunteer service.
Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless
"Changing attitudes toward the homeless: The effects of prosocial communication with the homeless" (2000). Faculty Bibliography 2000s. 2610.