Perceived Social Support Attenuates the Association between Stress and Health-related Quality of Life among Adults Experiencing Homelessness



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is defined as a multidimensional assessment of one’s physical and mental health. Homelessness is associated with numerous stressors that can reduce HRQoL. Interpersonal social support, the availability of individuals, or resources provided by individuals, to cope with stress, may be important in buffering the negative implications of stress on HRQoL. We examine this association in a marginalized group known for high rates of physical and mental health comorbidities: adults experiencing homelessness. Social support was measured with the 12-item Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL). HRQoL was measured using self-rated health, the number of poor mental and poor physical health days over the last 30 days, respectively, as well as the number of limited activity days as the result of poor mental and/or physical health. Perceived stress was assessed using the 4-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). The potential moderation effect of social support was examined by assessing the interaction term of social support and stress in a series of linear regression analyses controlling for several sociodemographic variables. There was a significant interaction effect of social support and stress in the prediction of days of poor physical health, days of poor mental health, and days of limited activity (all p’s < .05). Results add to a growing literature on the potentially protective benefits of social support on HRQoL, extend them to a large sample of adults experiencing homelessness in the South, and demonstrate the significance of this moderating effect of social support in this vulnerable population.