Goucher College Public Perception of Hate Crime Discussion
Learning Goal: I’m working on a statistics multi-part question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
COVERSHEET (running head, title of proposal, student’s name, Bowie State University)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page number starting from the end of Proposal I (first page of the literature review)
Brief introduction to the literature review (paragraph)
10 ARTICLES on Public Perception/Attitudes/Beliefs/Opinions directly on your topic (The articles are interwoven to create one literature review section. Do not simply list the 10 articles individually). The skill is organizing the 10 articles into a cohesive section. Different articles from the introduction and background. You should use the excel template provided in course materials to prepare the literature review. An adequate literature review is approximately 12 to 15 pages.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FOUR TYPES OF DATA ANALYSIS PROCEDURES
5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
2 INSTRUMENT QUESTIONS PER RESEARCH QUESTION (minimum of10 instrument questions)
Received: 28 March 2018
Revised: 9 May 2018
Accepted: 9 May 2018
Public exposure and attitudes about homelessness
Crystal Y. S. Lee4
Steven M. Southwick3,6
Robert H. Pietrzak3,6
1 United States Department of Veterans Affairs,
New England Mental Illness Research, Education,
and Clinical Center
2 United States Department of Veterans Affairs,
Errera Community Care Center
3 Yale University School of Medicine
4 Yale-NUS College
5 University of New Haven
6 United States Department of Veterans Affairs
National Center for Posttraumatic Stress
Disorder, Clinical Neurosciences Division
Funding for this study was provided by the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the National Center
for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and a private donation. The work was supported by the
Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health
Administration, Office of Research and Development. The views presented here are those of the
authors, alone, and do not represent the position
of the United States Government. None of the
authors report any conflicts of interest with this
In this study, we conducted a survey among a large sample of U.S.
adults to assess attitudes and beliefs about the causes of homelessness, policies to address homelessness, and programs for homeless
individuals. In 2016, we surveyed a national sample of 541 adults
from 47 different U.S. states using Amazon Mechanical Turk. Of
the total sample, 78% reported that homelessness was a problem in their communities and 60% believed homelessness would
increase in the next 5 years. The majority expressed compassion for
homeless individuals and endorsed structural, intrinsic, and health
factors as causes of homelessness. Most participants (73%–88%)
believed the federal government should dedicate more funds and
policies for homeless individuals. These attitudes were substantially
more likely to be reported by participants who were female, lower
income, Democrat, and personally exposed to homelessness. Most
Americans care about homelessness as a major problem but there
are divergent perspectives on solutions to address homelessness
based on gender, income level, and political affiliation.
Homelessness is a salient public health and social problem in most major metropolitan cities in the United States today.
In general, public opinion polls over the past several decades have found that Americans across the political spectrum
consider homelessness a serious problem and are concerned about homeless individuals (Blasi, 1994; Tompsett, Toro,
Guzicki, Manrique, & Zatakia, 2006; Toro & Warren, 1991). Since the 1980s, there have been numerous federal and
local initiatives to provide healthcare and housing for homeless individuals (Bachrach, 1987; Bassuk & Harvey, 1990;
Tsai, 2014; U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, 2010). However, recent epidemiological studies and annual
point-in-time counts of homeless individuals have reported that homelessness continues to be a persistent and prevalent problem in the U.S (Tsai, 2017; U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2016). With the intractable
problem of homelessness, there continue to be divergent political perspectives and policy debates about how to best
address and prevent homelessness (Clifford & Piston, 2017; Toro et al., 2007).
Studies on public attitudes about homelessness in the 1990s have found that there has not been “compassion
fatigue” for homeless individuals and that the majority (65%–89%) of the U.S. public report feeling compassion and
sadness as well as anger about homelessness in the country (Link et al., 1995; Toro & McDonell, 1992). A more recent
c 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
J. Community Psychol. 2019;47:76–92.
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national study conducted in 2016 found that these feelings remain prevalent (Tsai, Lee, Byrne, Pietrzak, & Southwick,
2017). Over the past three decades, federal funds dedicated to direct services and research on homelessness has grown
dramatically and studies have shown that the general public is willing to pay higher taxes to help homeless people
obtain housing (Toro & Warren, 1999).
However, there are diverse opinions about homelessness and proposals for solutions. Private attitudes and perceptions of homelessness often reflect individual sociodemographic characteristics. For example, several studies have
found that younger, female, liberal, and less wealthy individuals tend to express more sympathetic attitudes toward
homeless people (Tompsett et al., 2006; Toro & McDonell, 1992). One national study found that education was associated with greater tolerance for homeless individuals but less support for economic aid (Phelan, Link, Stueve, & Moore,
1995). These authors theorize that education leads to understanding that equal opportunity does not always result
in equal outcomes. Greater religiosity and being a racial minority have also been found to be associated with greater
willingness to help homeless individuals (Morgan, Goddard, & Newton Givens, 1997).
Drawing upon the contact hypothesis of in-group/out-group relations, studies have also found that people who are
exposed to homelessness in their own lives tend to have more compassionate and favorable attitudes about homelessness (Lee, Farrell, & Link, 2004). Moreover, those who have interpersonal contact with homeless individuals were less
likely to see homelessness as the results of individual characteristics, such as substance abuse or laziness (Knecht &
Martinez, 2009). However, there have been some mixed findings on studies of people who are panhandled. For example, one national survey found that encounters with homeless panhandlers had mixed effects on public attitudes and
behaviors (Lee & Farrell, 2003). Another study found that people who are panhandled are more likely to defend homeless people’s right to panhandle, but they did tend to view homelessness as a burden on their communities and reported
changing their shopping, entertainment, and transportation routines to avoid panhandlers (Knecht & Martinez,
In the current study, we conducted a national contemporary survey among U.S. adults to determine public attitudes
and beliefs about homelessness and identified individual characteristics associated with different attitudes and beliefs.
While studies have found that the general public remains sympathetic and supportive of policies to address homelessness (Tsai et al., 2017), there has been not been recent examination of predictors of these attitudes. In this study, we
examined participants’ personal exposure to homelessness, their feelings about homeless individuals, and their support
for the role of the federal government and other policies concerning homelessness. We also explored which sociodemographic, clinical, psychosocial, and exposure characteristics are associated with attitudes and beliefs about homelessness. The results provide contemporary data about factors related to different Americans’ sentiment, public health
literacy, and viewpoints regarding homelessness.
A national online survey was conducted in November 2016 through a contract with Gimbel Technologies, LLC, which
operates a platform that collects data using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). MTurk was created as an online labor
market to allow “requesters” to recruit large numbers of “workers” to complete tasks that are difficult to automate and
has become an increasingly popular method for conducting surveys and online interventions in social science research
(Mason & Suri, 2012). The purpose of the survey was to assess public knowledge and attitudes about homelessness
and posttraumatic stress disorder. All study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the VA
Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale University in the Spring of 2016.
There are various advantages of using MTurk, such as the ability to recruit a diverse range of participants across the
United States and obtain high-quality participants because the participants work to maintain a good online reputation,
and it is a community governed by strong norms of honesty and accuracy (Rand, 2012; Suri, Goldstein, & Mason, 2011).
In addition, cross-sample investigations have demonstrated that data obtained from MTurk are similar to data collected
from more traditional subject pools, such as college undergraduates and community samples, on various characteristics
including political orientation (Berinsky, Huber, & Lenz, 2012), decision-making biases (Paolacci, Chandler, & Ipeirotis,
TSAI ET AL .
2010), personality styles (Buhrmester, Kwang, & Gosling, 2011), and clinical symptoms (Shapiro, Chandler, & Mueller,
Two initial screening questions were used to include only participants who were older than 18 years of age and lived
in the United States. Of 577 participants who were initially recruited, 541 (93.8%) completed the survey and were
included in this study. Participants were from 47 different U.S. states. As shown in Table 1, participants had a mean
age of 37 years, and 73% were non-Hispanic White, 47% were male, and about 57% had a college degree. The majority of participants lived in large cities or suburbs and only a small proportion (5%) reported having served in the U.S.
military. Participants’ income levels were normally distributed, with most receiving $15,000–$70,000 annually. These
background characteristics are roughly similar to the general U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015), although our
sample had a higher proportion of adults who were White and with lower income; these differences have been found
in other samples recruited from MTurk (Paolacci et al., 2010).
Information about sociodemographic characteristics and political affiliation of participants were based on self-report.
Participants were also asked questions about their personal exposure and experience with homelessness. We used the
following assessments to obtain participants’ clinical characteristics: Trauma History Screen (THS; Carlson et al., 2011);
the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition
(PCL-5; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2016); two-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-2; Kroenke,
Spitzer, Williams, & Löwe, 2009); Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2; Kroenke, Spitzer, & Williams, 2003); one
item assessed suicidal ideation (Kroenke & Spitzer, 2002); and Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption
(AUDIT-C; Bush, Kivlahan, & McDonnell, 1998). Per scale developer recommendations, scores of 3 or greater on the
GAD-2 or PHQ-2 were considered positive screens on the respective scales; on the AUDIT-C, scores of 4 or greater
were considered positive screens for men and scores of 3 or greater were considered positive screens for women.
We assessed attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions about homelessness with a total of 52 items from previous surveys
(Link et al., 1995; Tompsett et al., 2006; Toro & McDonell, 1992). All items were rated on a 4-point Likert scale. Based
on factor analyses, these items were grouped into six domains, as described below (refer to Table 2 for the full list of
The first domain was related to Perceived Causes of Homelessness. Participants were asked the extent to which
they agreed with different causes of homelessness (11 items; 𝛼 = .67). The total scale was further divided into three
subscales to differentiate the nature of different causes: structural (five items; 𝛼 = .80), intrinsic (two items; 𝛼 = .74),
and health causes (four items; 𝛼 = .71).
The second domain was related to Role of Federal Government. Participants were asked the extent to which they
agreed that the federal government should dedicate more resources or legislation to homelessness (seven items;
𝛼 = .90).
The third domain was related to Effectiveness of Policies. Participants were asked the extent to which they agreed
that various policies were effective in reducing homelessness (10 items; 𝛼 = .80). The total scale was further divided
into two subscales: financial (seven items; 𝛼 = .76) and mental health-related policies (three items; 𝛼 = .67).
The fourth domain was related to Compassion for Homeless Individuals. Participants were asked about their emotions and feelings toward homeless individuals (four items; 𝛼 = .69).
The fifth domain was related to Restrictions and Rights. Participants were asked the extent to which they agreed
that homeless people should be able to use public spaces for sleeping and panhandling (four items; 𝛼 = .71).
The sixth domain was related to Personal Attitudes and Beliefs. Questions asked participants the extent to which
they agreed with statements about the behavior and community effects of homeless individuals (16 items; 𝛼 = .89).
Statements were divided into three factors: trustworthiness/dangerousness of homeless individuals (eight items;
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TA B L E 1
Background characteristics of participants (N = 541)
Below high school
Less than $15,000
Greater than 110,000
Large city of 100,000 or more
A small city
A small town
A rural town
Ever served in the military
Psychosocial and clinical characteristics
Ever been homeless
Total lifetime years of homelessnessa
Total # of different traumatic events
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TA B L E 1
Lifetime PCL-5 scoreb
Past-month PCL-5 scoreb
Positive PHQ-2 screend
Positive GAD-2 screen
Any suicidal ideation
Positive AUDIT-C scoree
Exposure to homeless individuals
Homelessness in your community
Not a problem
Homelessness has gotten worse in your community in past 5 years
Homelessness has gotten worse in the country in past 5 years
Frequency you see homeless person in your neighborhood
Expectation about number of homeless individuals in next 5 years
Stay about the same
Ever volunteered/worked to provide services to homeless people
Frequency a homeless panhandler/beggar asked you for money in past year
Once or twice
More than 10 times
Frequency you donate to homeless panhandlers
Average number of homeless people seen weekly
1 or 2
3 to 10
More than 10
Note. SD = standard deviation.
Data about years of homelessness and ages of homeless episodes were asked only of those who reported been homeless
sometime in their life.
PCL-5 = Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder 5th Edition.
GAD-2 = 2-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale, mean score (SD) = 1.6 (1.7).
PHQ-2 = 2-item Patient Health Questionnaire, mean score (SD) = 1.4 (1.7).
AUDIT-C = Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption, mean score (SD) = 2.5 (2.7).
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TA B L E 2
Attitudes and beliefs about homelessness (N = 541)
Perceived causes of homelessnessb
In your opinion, how much do each of the following contribute to homelessness?
Factor 1: Structural causes
Shortage of affordable housing
Shortage of government aid for poor people
An economic system that favors the rich over the poor
Failure of society to provide good schools for many people in this country
Subscale mean score
Factor 2: Intrinsic causes
Irresponsible behavior on the part of the homeless themselves
Laziness on the part of the homeless themselves
Subscale mean score
Factor 3: Health causes
Drug and alcohol abuse
The release of mental hospital patients into the community
Physical illness and handicaps
Subscale mean score
Total mean score
Role of federal governmentc
The federal government should spend more money to:
Build affordable housing for poor people
Build shelters and other emergency housing
Give rent subsidies for homeless people
Provide more welfare benefits for homeless people
Provide free alcohol and drug treatment programs
Raise the minimum wage to reduce homelessness
Give more tax breaks for private developers that build housing for poor people
Total mean score
Effectiveness of policiesd
How effective do you think each of the following would be as a way of reducing homelessness?
Factor 1: Financial policies
Building more low income housing
Giving rent subsidies
Cutting welfare benefits
Increasing minimum wage
Establishing child care programs
Helping more homeless people get welfare benefits
More temporary and emergency housing
Subscale mean score
TSAI ET AL .
TA B L E 2
Factor 2: Policies that target mental illness
Requiring patients in mental hospitals have place to live before release
Making alcohol and drug treatment programs free
Committing people with serious mental illness for mental health treatment
Subscale mean score
Total mean score
Compassion for homeless individuals
Feel sad and compassionate for homeless people
Careful not to touch a homeless person
Makes you angry to think that so many are homeless
Feel less compassion for homeless people than you used to
Total mean score
Restrictions for homeless individuals
Should homeless people have the right to sleep overnight in public places like parks,
or bus and train stations?
Should homeless people have the right to vote?
Should homeless people be allowed to beg or panhandle in public places
Should homeless people be allowed to set up tents or other temporary shelter in
Total mean score
Personal opinions of homeless individualse
Factor 1: Trustworthiness/dangerousness
Most homeless people have always had trouble making friends
Most homeless people would respect their neighbors’ property
Most homeless people have always had trouble with family relationships
Homeless people are more likely to commit violent crimes than other people
Homeless people are no more dangerous than other people
If I knew that a person had been homeless, I would be less likely to trust him or her
In the interest of public safety, homeless people should not be allowed to gather in
Programs for the homeless cost taxpayers too much money
Subscale mean score
Factor 2: Effect of homelessness on communities
The more homeless people there are in an area, the worse the neighborhood becomes
Even when homeless people seem all right, it is important to remember that they may
It’s only natural to be afraid of a person who lives on the street
The quality of life in our nation’s cities is threatened by the increasing number of
Local businesses lose customers when homeless people are around
The presence of homeless people spoils parks for families and children
Subscale mean score
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TA B L E 2
Factor 3: Capabilities of homeless people
Most homeless people have good job skills
Given the opportunity, most homeless people could take care of a home
Subscale mean score
Total mean score
Percentage who endorse the statement, or report greater support for programs, funding, or compassion for homeless
Item scores ranged from 0 to 3 with higher scores reflecting greater endorsement of the statement.
Item scores range from 1 to 4 with higher scores reflecting greater support for federal spending in that area.
d Item scores for the Effectiveness of Policies, Compassion for Homeless Individuals, and Restrictions, range from 1 to 4 with
higher scores reflecting greater support for more programs or services, greater compassion, or fewer restrictions/more rights
for homeless individuals, respectively.
e Item scores range from 1 to 4 with higher scores reflecting more positive attitudes about homeless individuals
𝛼 = .82), the effect of homelessness on communities (6 items; 𝛼 = .84), and the capabilities of homeless people (two
items; 𝛼 = .64).
Data analyses proceeded in three steps. First, sociodemographic, clinical, and psychosocial characteristics of the sample were summarized using descriptive statistics. Second, public attitudes about homelessness were examined with
frequency analyses, and mean item and scale scores were calculated.
Third, to examine factors related to public attitudes about homelessness, a series of three-block multiple regression
analyses were conducted with the first block containing sociodemographic characteristics, the second block containing psychosocial characteristics, and the third block containing exposure-to-homelessness variables. The first block
of variables was entered using the simultaneous/enter method, while the second and third block of variables were
entered using stepwise forward method. The rationale for this approach was to examine and control for all sociodemographic characteristics, as well as to reduce multicollinearity among psychosocial and exposure-to-homelessness
variables when examining their association with public attitudes about homelessness. Standardized beta values were
calculated to provide a measure of the magnitude of associations, and adjusted R2 as well as change in R2 values were
calculated to provide information about the amount of variance explained.
Background characteristics and exposure to homelessness
Table 1 shows the characteristics of the sample and their exposure to homelessness. A majority (77.6%) of participants
reported homelessness was a problem in their communities, and three quarters of the sample reported seeing at least
one homeless person weekly. A sizable group (13%) of participants reported they had been homeless themselves sometime in their lives, with the average age of onset in their late 20s. A little less than half of the sample believed homelessness has “gotten worse” in their communities in the past 5 years and over three-quarters believed homelessness
has gotten worse in the country in the past 5 years. A majority (59%) also reported that they expected homelessness to
increase in the next 5 years.
Public attitudes about homelessness
Table 2 presents both the mean scores and percentage of participants who endorsed each item in each category related
to public attitudes and beliefs about homelessness. With respect to Perceived Causes of Homelessness, the majority
TSAI ET AL .
(62–78%) of participants endorsed both structural causes of homelessness (e.g., failure of society) as well as intrinsic causes (e.g., irresponsible behavior of homeless individuals). Notably, a large majority (79%–88%) of participants
endorsed beliefs that health problems cause homelessness, particularly mental illness and substance abuse. With
respect to Role of Federal Government, across items, over 70% of participants supported greater federal funds for
With respect to Effectiveness of Policies, the majority of participants (68–86%) reported they believed financial and
mental health policies for homeless people were effective in reducing homelessness. With respect to Compassion for
Homeless Individuals, the majority (74%–90%) reported feeling compassion for homeless individuals and anger that so
many were homeless.
Regarding Restrictions for Homeless Individuals, there were more mixed feelings reported by participants. While
the majority (70%–93%) agreed with allowing homeless people to vote and sleep in public places, fewer participants (49%–59%) agreed with allowing homeless people setup encampments and panhandle in public spaces. Regarding Personal Opinions of Homeless Individuals, there were widely varying opinions reported. The majority (65%–
77%) of participants reported some fears and concerns about the dangerousness of homeless people. Most participants also reported perceiving some negative effects of homelessness on communities, although over half did not
believe that homelessness was negatively affecting the quality of life in cities. Last, although three fourths of participants believed homeless people could take care of a home, less than half believed that homeless people have good
Factors related to public attitudes about homelessness
Tables 3 and 4 present three-block multiple regression analyses of sociodemographic, psychosocial, and exposure characteristics associated with beliefs and attitudes about homelessness. Below, we describe the strongest (beta > .10) and
most consistent significant associations in each block of variables.
Among sociodemographic characteristics, participants who were female were more likely to report compassion,
beliefs in structural and health causes of homelessness, beliefs in the capabilities of homeless individuals, and beliefs
in the effectiveness of financial and mental health policies for homeless individuals. Participants with higher incomes
were less likely to report compassion and trust for homeless individuals and were less likely to believe in structural
causes of homelessness or the effectiveness of financial policies for homeless individuals. High-income participants
were also less likely to support more federal funding to address homelessness and were more likely to support restrictions for homeless individuals.
Participants who identified as Democrats were more likely to report compassion, trust, and less negative community effects of homelessness. Democrats were less likely to believe in intrinsic causes of homelessness and more likely
to believe in structural causes of homelessness. Democrats were also more likely to support greater federal funding
to address homelessness and believe in the capabilities of homeless individuals and the effectiveness of financial and
mental health policies.
Among psychosocial characteristics, participants who had been homeless themselves were more likely to endorse
greater federal funding for and fewer restrictions on homeless individuals. Participants who reported experiencing a
greater number of different traumatic events were more likely to endorse greater federal funding, fewer restrictions,
more compassion, more trust, and greater beliefs in the effectiveness of mental health policies for homeless individuals.
In addition, participants who reported greater symptoms of anxiety were more likely to believe in health causes of
homelessness, while those who reported any suicidal ideation were less likely to believe in structural causes and those
who reported greater symptoms of depression were more likely to believe in the effectiveness of financial policies for
Among exposure variables, participants who reported more frequently donating to homeless people were less likely
to believe in intrinsic causes of homelessness and more likely to believe in structural causes of homelessness. They
were more likely to support greater federal funding and believe the effectiveness of financial and mental health policies in addressing homelessness. They were also more likely to agree with fewer restrictions for homeless individuals
Total # of different traumatic events
Ever been homeless
Second block: Psychosocial characteristicsd
First block: Sociodemographic characteristicsc
TA B L E 3 Three-block multiple regression analyses examining associations between sociodemographic, psychosocial, and exposure characteristics associated with beliefs about
causes and policies for homelessnessa
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Note. n/a = not applicable; GAD = Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale; PHQ = Patient Health Questionnaire.
Values shown are standardized beta values.
Dependent variables in this analysis were based on subscale and total scale mean scores detailed in Table 2.
The first block of variables was entered using a simultaneous entry method. Gender was coded as 0 = male, 1 = female. Race was coded as 0 = non-White, 1 = White. Democrat was coded as
0 = non-Democrat, 1 = Democrat.
The second and third blocks of variables were each entered using a forward stepwise method.
*p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. R change 2 Frequency donate money to homeless person Ever volunteered/worked with homeless people Expected future increase in homelessness n/a .09* n/a Homelessness gotten worse in your community .204* .04 n/a .14** Structural causes of homelessnessb Homelessness gotten worse in the country Amount of homelessness in your community Third block: Exposure characteristics R2 change Any suicidal ideation PHQ-2 score TA B L E 3 86 TSAI ET AL . d .05 Democrat Adjusted R2 Total # of different traumatic events n/a .14** GAD-2 score .10* Ever been homeless Second block: Psychosocial characteristics .16** n/a .11* n/a .04 .17** .07 .02 .06 −.05 −.11* −.14** Veteran .06 n/a n/a n/a .04 .15** .05 .06 −.08 .02 .01 .06 −.16** .10* .06 −.04 Effect of homelessness on communities .00 * Trustworthiness of homeless individuals City size Annual income Education −.01 .12 Female White .05 Age First Block: Sociodemographic characteristicsc Compassion for homeless individualsb .03 n/a n/a n/a .02 .10* .04 n/a n/a .12** .14 .31** n/a .17** n/a .08 .22** .00 −.03 −.08 −.02 .02 −.03 −.04 .21** .02 (Continues) Effectiveness of mental health policies −.16** −.03 −.08 −.07 −.04 .11* .04 Effectiveness of financial policies −.08 .10* −.04 Capabilities of homeless individuals TA B L E 4 Three-block multiple regression analyses examining associations between sociodemographic, psychosocial, and exposure characteristics associated with personal opinions and perceived effectiveness of policies around homelessnessa TSAI ET AL . 87 .12 R2 change .09 .25 ** ** .05 .23 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a – n/a n/a Effect of homelessness on communities ** ** .06 .18 n/a n/a n/a .18 n/a – n/a n/a Capabilities of homeless individuals ** .07 .24 n/a n/a n/a n/a .15** .04 n/a .15** Effectiveness of financial policies .05 .20** n/a n/a .10* n/a n/a .03 n/a n/a Effectiveness of mental health policies Note. n/a = not applicable; GAD = Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale; PHQ = Patient Health Questionnaire. a Values showed are standardized beta values. b Dependent variables in this analysis were based on subscale and total scale mean scores detailed in Table 2. c The first block of variables was entered using a simultaneous entry method. Gender was coded as 0 = male, 1 = female. Race was coded as 0 = non-White, 1 = White. Democrat was coded as 0 = non-Democrat, 1 = Democrat. d The second and third blocks of variables were each entered using a forward stepwise method. *p < 0.05. **p < 0.01. .33 Frequency donate money to homeless person ** n/a n/a n/a Expected future increase in homelessness Ever volunteered/worked with homeless people .11* n/a n/a n/a n/a .13* Homelessness gotten worse in your community .13** .01 n/a n/a Trustworthiness of homeless individuals Homelessness gotten worse in the country Amount of homelessness in your community Third block: Exposure characteristics .04 n/a R2 change Any suicidal ideation Compassion for homeless individualsb n/a (Continued) PHQ-2 score TA B L E 4 88 TSAI ET AL . TSAI ET AL . 89 and less negative community effects of homelessness and reported more compassion and trust for homeless individuals. Participants who reported a greater amount of homelessness in their communities reported greater compassion, trust, beliefs in structural causes of homelessness, and beliefs in the effectiveness of financial policies for homeless individuals. 3 DISCUSSION In our national sample of U.S. adults, we found that the majority of the public was concerned and compassionate about homelessness, which aligns with results of public surveys conducted over the past three decades (Blasi, 1994; Link et al., 1995; Tompsett et al., 2006; Toro & Warren, 1991). More specifically, we found that the majority of people surveyed reported that homelessness was a problem in their community, and that they believed homelessness has not only gotten worse but they expected it would continue to get worse in the future. It is hard to determine whether homelessness in the United States has, in fact, increased because accurate estimates of homelessness has been notoriously hard to obtain. Annual point-in-time counts have indicated gradual decreases in the number of homeless people (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2013, 2016), but at least one recent epidemiological study has found an increase in the prevalence of homelessness in the past decade (Tsai, 2017), which may be attributable to major economic recessions that have occurred during this time period. Interestingly, we found that the majority of participants endorsed multiple causes of homelessness, including structural, intrinsic, and health factors. This finding suggests the public generally understands that homelessness is a multifactorial problem, which is borne out by the research (Crane et al., 2005; Susser, Moore, & Link, 1993; Tsai & Rosenheck, 2015). Among structural, intrinsic, and health factors, the strongest causes that participants endorsed in each category were shortage of affordable housing, irresponsible behavior, and substance abuse, respectively. The majority of participants believed the federal government should take a larger role in developing solutions for these problems. Specifically, most participants supported more government spending and policies in favor of affordable housing, free substance abuse treatment, a higher minimum wage, and welfare benefits. However, it is important to point out that some of these policies may be costly and controversial. For example, studies have shown that increasing welfare benefits and increasing the minimum wage can have positive as well as unintended negative consequences on the communities they are intended to serve (Card & Krueger, 1995; Dube, Lester, & Reich, 2010; Pollin, Brenner, & Luce, 2002; Turton, 2001). Some participants also reported conflicts between their compassion and perceived negative effects of certain policies. While many participants endorsed fewer restrictions on panhandling and sleeping in public places, most also reported fears about homeless people and believed that the public presence of homeless people had negative effects on local businesses and communities. These conflicting values have been reported in a previous study (Knecht & Martinez, 2009) and form the basis of many ongoing debates on proposed legislation related to panhandling and sleeping in public places (Clifford & Piston, 2016; Harris, 2017; Robinson, 2017). Thus, it is important for the general public to be well informed of both the potential costs and consequences of various policies so that the best evidence-based policies can be supported. Attitudes about homelessness varied substantially by gender, income level, and political affiliation. In general, participants who were female, had lower income, or identified as a Democrat reported more compassion, were more likely to support government programs and policies in favor of homeless individuals, and had greater beliefs in their effectiveness in reducing homelessness. These results are generally consistent with findings of previous studies (Phelan et al., 1995; Tompsett et al., 2006; Toro & McDonell, 1992). Additionally, controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, participants who had been homeless themselves or had frequent contact with homeless individuals also held these attitudes. This finding is consistent with the in-group/out-group hypothesis, which is that those who have greater exposure to homelessness have greater compassion and make more external attributions about behaviors (Knecht & Martinez, 2009; Lee et al., 2004). 90 TSAI ET AL . 3.1 Strengths and limitations This study had several strengths: recruitment of a large sample, a comprehensive survey asking about various attitudinal areas related to homelessness including policies, and results that provided detailed contemporary information about public attitudes as the country strives to continue addressing homelessness. Several limitations of this study are worth noting. Our national survey did not employ random or representative sampling and so generalizability of the results is unknown. The survey asked about attitudes and beliefs about homelessness but did not collect information on actual behavior or intent to support certain policies. Various studies have pointed out discrepancies between participants’ reported attitudes and their actual behaviors (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1977). In addition, some participants reported contradictory attitudes such as believing homeless people are more likely to commit violent crimes but are not more dangerous than other people. Although the responses were anonymous, social desirability may have influenced responses to certain items based on how they were worded. Because the survey was cross-sectional and exploratory, we could only surmise associations and could not infer causation between variables. We did not have specific hypotheses for the study, and the study involved a large number of comparisons that resulted in a high type I error rate so the results need to be considered with these limitations. 3.2 Conclusion Taken together, results of this national survey suggest that the majority of Americans care about homelessness and believe the federal government should spend more money to address homelessness. However, there were differing opinions about effective policies reflecting conflicts in values and perceived consequences. Attitudes about homelessness partly reflected sociodemographic characteristics, political affiliation, and exposure to homelessness. Given that homelessness has been a longstanding public health and social problem for several decades, innovative solutions and policies are needed but may also require the support of a well-informed public. ORCID Jack Tsai http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0329-648X REFERENCES Ajzen, I., & Fishbein, M. (1977). 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No right to rest: Police enforcement patterns and quality of life consequences of the criminalization of homelessness. Urban Affairs Review, Online First. https://doi.org/10.1177/1078087417690833 Shapiro, D. N., Chandler, J., & Mueller, P. A. (2013). Using Mechanical Turk to study clinical populations. Clinical Psychological Science, 1(2), 213–220. Suri, S., Goldstein, D. G., & Mason, W. A. (2011). Honesty in an online labor market. Human Computation: Papers from the 2011 AAAI Workshop (WS-11-11), 61–66. Susser, E., Moore, R., & Link, B. (1993). Risk factors for homelessness. American Journal of Epidemiology, 15(2), 546–556. Tompsett, C. J., Toro, P. A., Guzicki, M., Manrique, M., & Zatakia, J. (2006). Homelessness in the United States: Assessing changes in prevalence and public opinion, 1993–2001. American Journal of Community Psychology, 37(1-2), 47–61. Toro, P. A., & McDonell, D. M. (1992). Beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about homelessness: A survey of the general public. 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S., Byrne, T., Pietrzak, R. H., & Southwick, S. M. (2017). Changes in public attitudes and perceptions about homelessness between 1990 and 2016. American Journal of Community Psychology, 60(3-4), 599–606. Tsai, J., & Rosenheck, R. A. (2015). Risk factors for homelessness among U.S. veterans. Epidemiologic Reviews, 37(1), 177–195. Turton, N. (2001). Welfare benefits and work disincentives. Journal of Mental Health, 10(3), 285–300. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2016). The 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. Retrieved from Washington, DC: Retrieved from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/ 2016-AHAR-Part-1.pdf U.S. Census Bureau. (2015). Current population survey. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/cps/ U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2013). The 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress: Part 1, Point-in-time estimates of homelessness. Retrieved from https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/ documents/AHAR-2013-Part1.pdf U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2016, March 4, 2016). PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5). Retrieved from https:// www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/assessment/adult-sr/ptsd-checklist.asp U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2010). Opening doors: Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. Washington, DC: United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. How to cite this article: Tsai J, Lee CYS, Shen J, Southwick SM, Pietrzak RH. Public exposure and attitudes about homelessness. J Community Psychol. 2019;47:76–92. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22100 Copyright of Journal of Community Psychology is the property of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. Year of Study Author (s) Research Questions Hypotheses Independent Variable (s) Dependent Variable (s) Subjects of the study: unit of analysis (individual, groups, and organizations) Data Collection Methods ( How was the data collected) Asking Questions (Surveys, Interviews, etc), Direct Observation, and Examining Written records. What type of instrument used in the study? Research Design: Cross-sectional or Longitudinal ( Trends, Cohort, and Panel) Key Findings/Results (Include all relevant findings to your topic) Major Contribution of the study Year of Study Author (s) Research Questions Hypotheses Independent Variable (s) Dependent Variable (s) Subjects of the study: unit of analysis (individual, groups, and organizations) Data Collection Methods ( How was the data collected) Asking Questions (Surveys, Interviews, etc), Direct Observation, and Examining Written records. What type of instrument used in the study? Research Design: Cross-sectional or Longitudinal ( Trends, Cohort, and Panel) Key Findings/Results (Include all relevant findings to your topic) Major Contribution of the study Grading Rubric for Proposal II Review of Literature (17) 17- Comprehensive review of the literature using quality evidence and specifically analyzes the research conducted by describing the individual studies and findings that support the thesis and focused problem. Uses 10+ scholarly primary sources that are focused and highly relevant to the topic and adequately critiqued with methodology and significant findings discussed. Provides a strong analysis of each source that demonstrates its relevance to the research and its relationship to other sources. Effectively organizes the sources by chronology, topic, or theory. Analysis of sources clearly justifies the original research through a gap or weakness of the existing literature. Writing is clear and succinct with few or insignificant errors. APA citations and formatting are followed consistently. 14- Comprehensive review of the literature using quality evidence but does not adequately analyze the research findings; simply reports on the literature. Uses 9/8 scholarly primary sources included. Provides some analysis of the sources to show relevance and connection between ideas. Organizes most of the sources by chronology, topic, or theory, but the organization is inconsistent. Analysis hints at gap or weakness in the literature but does not clearly connect this to the original research. Writing is mostly clear but has occasional moments where it is difficult to understand. APA citations and formatting are followed inconsistently. 11-Review of the literature using quality evidence but does not adequately analyze the research findings; simply reports on the literature. A minimum of 7/6 scholarly primary sources included. Proper APA formatting is utilized in the section. Uses an insufficient number of sources or low quality of sources (not scholarly). Provides little analysis of all the sources. Presents sources no apparent order or structure. Provides no justification for the original research. Writing is unclear and difficult to understand. APA citations and formatting are not followed. 8- Superficial review of the literature that does not describe the research findings; relies heavily on a few studies and uses poor quality resources for information gathering. A minimum of 5/4 scholarly primary sources included. Poor organization of the section with little connection between articles. Presented the articles as individual studies. Substantial issues with APA formatting. 6- Superficial review of the literature that is poorly organized and lacks credibility based on the level of evidence and resources presented. Less than 3 scholarly primary sources included and APA a major issue or omitted from the review. 0-A review of the literature not provided. Method (10 points): 10-The number, relevant characteristics, and an explanation of how to recruit subjects is clearly stated. All the required statistical procedures explained (Chi-Square, Analysis of Variance, T-test, and Bivariate). All five research questions are present and properly formulated. Two instrument questions for each research question (note: for each improperly formatted instrument question there is a one-point deduction). 8-The number, relevant characteristics, or an explanation of how to recruit subjects is clearly stated. All the required of statistical procedures explained (Chi-Square, Analysis of Variance, T-test, and Bivariate). Four of the five research questions are present and properly formulated. Two instrument questions for each research question (note: for each improperly formatted instrument question there is a one-point deduction). 6-The number, relevant characteristics, or an explanation of how to recruit subjects is clearly stated. All the required of statistical procedures explained (Chi-Square, Analysis of Variance, T-test, and Bivariate). Three of the five research questions are present and properly formulated. Two instrument questions for each research question (note: for each improperly formatted instrument question there is a one-point deduction). 4 - The number, relevant characteristics, or an explanation of how to recruit subjects is clearly stated. All the required of statistical procedures explained (Chi-Square, Analysis of Variance, T-test, and Bivariate). Two of the five research questions are present and properly formulated. Two instrument questions for each research question (note: for each improperly formatted instrument question there is a one-point deduction). 2-The number, relevant characteristics, or an explanation of how to recruit subjects is clearly stated. All the required of statistical procedures explained (Chi-Square, Analysis of Variance, T-test, and Bivariate). One of the five research questions are present and properly formulated. Two instrument questions for each research question (note: for each improperly formatted instrument question there is a one-point deduction). 0-No properly formatted research questions. Format (3 points) 3- Proper APA formatting is utilized in the section but over citing is an issue- cover sheet, table of contents, running head, and reference page all are properly formatted. 2-APA formatting is an issue with one of the following-cover sheet, table of contents, running head, and reference page. 1-APA formatting is an issue with two of the following- cover sheet, table of contents, running head, and reference page. 0-APA formatting is an issue with three of the following- cover sheet, table of contents, running head, and reference page Turnitin Score (points deduction) 26-30= 4 31-35=8 36-40=12 41-45=15 46-50=18 51 over=25 Public Perception of Police Reform Literature Review Due to frequent occurrences of misconduct and accountability issues at the hands of city and state law enforcement officials, the topic of police reform continues to make an appearance today. As a result, studies have been conducted to measure the societal perception of policing while capturing the factors that influence these attitudes as well as solutions needed to address the perceived problems. Acquiring the information derived from research outlets will assist in developing a systematic approach that can be used to analyze public attitudes upon different avenues. Therefore, when observing societal demands for police reform there are two measurements that must be made: understanding the inspiration behind opinions of police and acknowledging the standards and likeliness of support for police reform. As a result, many researchers have taken it upon themselves to put this theory to the test. Miller, Davis, Henderson, Markovic, and Ortiz (2003), researchers for the Vera Institute of Justice, carried out a longitudinal survey consisting of 2,000 people within the range of five New York City precincts. Titled “Public Opinions of the Police: The Influence of Friends, Family, and News Media”, this research is significant in that it focused on factors which had arguably been deemed most influential in relation to attitudes towards police. Uniquely enough Miller et al. (2003) emphasized the impact of media exposure by not only conducting public opinion and consumer satisfaction surveys, but also monitoring media productions in the midst of this nine-month period to gage exactly how heavily weighted this outlet was on the public. Examining police interactions both personally, vicariously, and via media outlets, these researchers discovered that perceptions are shared based on relations. Although these relations can include friendships or familial ties, the research revealed that it also includes one’s ability to identify with the experience of another individual (via media or shared stories). As a result, the 1 Public Perception of Police Reform study disclosed that when comparing public perceptions of police, the bad influences almost always outweighed the good. A primary element in the start of a reformation practice is understanding the reasoning behind shared feelings amongst community members. Miller et al. (2003) conducted research in the city of New York (NY) as a means to better interpret public perception of police. According to the research, 28% of the participants had involuntary direct contact with police and 38% had voluntary direct contact with police in the year 2003. Similarly, 66% of the participants knew someone who had interacted with police within the past year; half of these interactions were voluntary and the other half were involuntary. Surprisingly, this contact held a ratio of 13 to 5 with 13 being negative and 5 being positive interactions with police. This finding is significant in that despite one’s personal experiences, individuals who have had negative vicarious experiences with police were shown to be less confident and trusting in police effectiveness and conduct. Thus, vicarious interactions were deemed significant in measuring public attitudes toward police and police reform. In addition, through monitoring media exposure, Miller et al. (2003) found that over 50% of the participants either watched televised news, listened to radio news, or read a newspaper in the past week. With over 60% of these individuals recalling that they heard or saw police in the news, the monitoring process proved to be a success. As a result, 30% of the broadcasted and printed news was classified by the researchers as positive, 33% neutral, and 37% negative. In contrast, they discovered that respondents interpreted the information differently. Unlike the researchers, 30% of the respondents interpreted news coverage within the last 30 days as positive, 49% as negative, and 21% as neutral. Revealing the unforeseen barrier as it relates to policing and public views, this research was said to have captured the initial stages of attitudinal 2 Public Perception of Police Reform development towards police. Significantly, this finding reveals that public opinions toward police and public perceptions of police reform are shaped by the same variables. As it pertains to addressing public perception of police reform these researchers found that societal attitudes toward police, whether negative or positive, had a direct correlation with levels of support for reformation. In fact, they produced evidence which stated that as the application of accountability measures for police increased, the police-public interactions also improved. As a result, there was a mass reduction of citizen complaints and negative attitudes. Thus, inferring that in order to ensure an increase in positive police interactions and attitudes toward police, reformation was necessary. Although the responses presented in this research did not directly mention support for changing the policing system, they were an insinuation of reform support. Through this intensive research, Miller et al. (2003) found that the use of early warning systems, problem-oriented approach practices, and training programs were most efficient in strengthening public support for police and countering the negative attitudes. Supporting their research, these actions were the solutions needed to improve police-public relations and policing as a whole. Being that public opinions toward police is a growing concern today, many researchers have conducted studies similar to that of Miller and his colleagues. Under the National Institute of Justice, Weitzer and Tuch (2004) performed a national survey titled “Rethinking Minority Attitudes Toward the Police”. Consisting of 1,792 participants with demographics ranging from African American, to Hispanic, to Caucasian, telephones were used to conduct this study. This survey spanning from October to December examined individuals who resided in metropolitan areas consisting of at least 100,000 residents. Through Knowledge Networks, these researchers displayed the major influence on public attitudes toward police by channeling four areas 3 Public Perception of Police Reform consisting of: police satisfaction, public views of police misconduct, opinions on racial prejudice amongst law enforcement, and examinations favor toward policing reforms. The findings of the research carried out by Weitzer and Tuch (2004) revealed that race, neighborhood crime conditions, personal/vicarious experiences of police abuse (misconduct and racial discrimination), and media exposure, were all influences on attitudes towards police. In the same manner, these attitudes served as a direct correlation for the levels of support for police reform. Although, being that neighborhood crime conditions and media exposure can be similarly measured, they were listed along with the personal and vicarious experiences of police abuse. Significantly, race, being the most influential factor in perceptions of police, was an umbrella category in which media exposure and personal/vicarious experience fell under. To be specific, these researchers found that overall, only about 25% of Blacks and 33% of Hispanics had positive attitudes toward police. Meanwhile, satisfaction rates with police both in neighborhoods and in the city were very high amongst nearly half of the surveyed Caucasian population. The study also showed that of the three races (Black, White, Hispanic) ranging from 38% to 60%, Blacks and Hispanics either witnessed or experienced abuse of power on behalf of police, but the level of agreeance on this issue for Whites on the other hand ranged from 16% to 20%; again, these responses included influences from neighborhood crime conditions and the media. In fact, media exposure alone was one of the most influential predictors of support for reform. These researchers discovered that the commonality for Blacks and Hispanics to hold critical views of the police resulted from the excessive amount of negative police encounters, the constant subjections to police abuse in the media, and the exposure to disproportionate levels of police presence in their neighborhoods. 4 Public Perception of Police Reform In regard to the study, the results displayed that complaints made by those who had recent contact with police entailed more detail than those who did not. In the same manner, their responses towards questions of reform displayed the same relationship. According to the research, mass volumes of African Americans and Hispanics advocated for early warning systems and police awareness training as a means of bettering police-to-public relations as well police accountability. Whites had substantially fewer encounters with police than Blacks and Hispanics and for that reason they responded to the idea of police reform with levels of support varying from somewhat considerable to mild. This work is unique because these researchers recognized that previous studies had only measured public attitudes toward police and simply assumed that these attitudes were a definitive determination of favor towards reform. Evolving this study to better educate and inspire public policy, these researchers measured public attitudes toward police and toward police reform separately. As a whole, the results gained from this study provided information on views towards policing and police reform, which could be both a reference as well as a comparative tool. Another study was also aimed at understanding public perceptions of police, only this one focused primarily on the role that police behavior had on citizen attitudes towards law enforcement. Using her work to produce recent and relevant data as well as to challenge previous research, Avdija (2009) conducted a study titled “The Role of Police Behavior in Predicting Citizens’ Attitude Toward the Police” which revealed the primary influences on public attitudes toward police. Put into four groups, those influences were: police behavior, voluntary versus involuntary police contact, and the demographics (race, socioeconomic status, and gender) of the surveyed individuals. This cross-sectional survey consisted of 304 undergraduate students, with 169 being male and 135 being female. The most prevalent racial groups represented in this study 5 Public Perception of Police Reform were Caucasians (71.1%), African Americans (21.4%), and Hispanics/Latinos (1.3%). In hopes of determining whether public attitudes toward law enforcement officials genuinely stemmed from the actions of police or was instead a result of demographic influence, Avdija (2008) used this research to validify as well as counter previous findings on what truly inspires the public perceptions of police. According to this work published by Indiana State University, police behavior accounts for the majority of the public attitude towards law enforcement officials. The study supported this finding with statistics which stated that the standardized coefficient representing police behavior exceeded the other individual coefficients by almost 6 counts; thus, the other coefficients such as demographic features, and voluntary versus involuntary police contact had less of an impact on public opinions. Likewise, being that involuntary police contact in many ways coincided with higher rates of negative police behavior; this researcher found that this type of contact worsted citizen attitudes with a displayed significance of