Implications of Homelessness for Parenting Young Children: A Preliminary Review From a Developmental Attachment Perspective

David, D. H.,
Gelberg, L.,
Suchman, N. E.
Published: January, 2012
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Infant Mental Health Journal
Volume: 33

Issue: 1

It has been well-documented that parents and children who experience homelessness often have compromised health and well-being, yet few studies have examined the potential impact of homelessness on the process of parenting young children. In this review, the authors consider how parents of young children might function under the circumstances of homelessness. They begin with a brief overview of the psychological, social, and medical characteristics of homeless mothers and their young children. Then, using a developmental attachment perspective, they examine the central tasks of parenting during the first 5 years of life, including emotion regulation and fostering of child autonomy, to explore how homelessness may compromise a mother's ability to complete these tasks. Finally, the authors offer suggestions for further research that incorporate a developmental attachment perspective and other relevant viewpoints. Because of the lack of research in this area, their review seeks to provide a heuristic framework for future research, intervention development, and policy. Modified Author Abstract.

Correspondence to: Daryn H. David, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), 319 Peck Street, Building 1, New Haven, CT 06513; E-mail:, Website:
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