Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dean Cruess

Honors Major



Psychology | Social Psychology | Urban Studies and Planning


Little is known about how sleep disruption impacts physical health among the homeless. The association between homelessness, quality of sleep and physical health were investigated in the current study. Convenience sampling was used to select participants from a pool of people attending the programs of Ecclesia Ministries. Interviews were conducted with 32 persons from the Boston metropolitan area, of whom 23 were currently homeless. The researcher assessed level of sleep disturbance, number of health problems and degree of homelessness using a standard demographic questionnaire, the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Our results found evidence of significant sleep disturbance as well as significant mental and physical health problems in the sample. Correlational analyses provided partial support for the hypothesis that degree of homelessness impacts both sleep quality and physical health. Future work should investigate whether change in homelessness status alters sleep quality and physical health and also whether interventions may be utilized in this understudied and vulnerable population.