Dissertation free literature review: Grant Proposal Literature Review
Grant Proposal Literature Review
The previous studies have shown that homeless children experience more mental health problems than children with a home. Among the common mental disorders with the homeless children are post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorder, conduct disorder, substance abuse and reactive attachment disorder (Haskett, Armstrong, & Tisdale, 2016). Such health issues affect the ability of the homeless children to develop optimally, both physically and mentally. For instance, the health problems can affect the ability of the homeless children to learn. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine whether or not a child is suffering from mental health disorders. As such, trained health professionals should be given the role of identifying or diagnosing mental health issues in homeless children. The diagnosis process should start with screening by a medical doctor (Flamez & Sheperis, 2015). The major issue with such a screening process is that the medical doctor may not have access to the history of a child especially if the child does not live with parents or guardians (Almgren & Lindhorst, 2012). If the history is available, the medical doctor should use it as a reference for understanding the behaviors and mental health status of the children. In case of a need, the medical doctor can carry out medical tests on the children. If no basis for explanation of a child’s behavior is found, the child should be referred to a well trained psychiatrist. The psychiatrist can understand the causes of unusual behaviors or mental problems in child and apply different treatment methods. For instance, the psychiatrist can apply the cognitive-behavior therapy on the child or/and prescribe medications (Galanter & Jensen, 2016). Given that homeless children are likely to lack adequate access to such professional services, it is vital to establish a way of supporting them to access those services.
Theory Survey and Comparison
The impact of homelessness on children can be explained using several theories of development. The first theory is one that was advanced by Sigmund Freud. He identified stages through children go through during early development, namely oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital stages. In each of the stages, a child’s libido desire is satisfied in a specific way. If not satisfied, the child is likely to develop behavioral disorders (Eckstein & Kaufman, 2012). Homeless children that do not live with their parents usually do not satisfy their libido desires in the early stages of development and hence, they end up developing behavioral problems. Erik Erikson’s theory can also be applied in explaining the source of mental health problems in children who are homeless (Newman & Newman, 2007). Erikson argued that human beings go through different development stages throughout their lives and each stage involves overcoming a certain conflict. For instance, teen overcome the conflict of temptations to engage in irresponsible sexual acts. Failure to overcome the conflict affects the overall functioning of an individual. Usually, parents and caregivers provide guidance and support to children to overcome conflicts that they encounter (Newman & Newman, 2007). Some of the homeless children do not get adequate support and guidance since they live away from parents and caregivers.
Child development theories, such as those developed by Ivan Pavlov and John B. Watson, are also applicable in this context. The theories posit that a child’s behavior is influenced by the immediate environment where she or he grows (Palaiologou, 2009). Homeless children live in environment where they are taken care of and they usually adopt the morals and values of the parents, caregivers and other members of the society. Conversely, some of the homeless children adopt the behaviors of gangs or the peers they live with. Some of the resultant behaviors of the homeless children, such as substance abuse, have a negative impact on their mental health (Palaiologou, 2009). The attachment theory is also applicable. John Bowbly, who came up with the theory, argued that attachment to parents, caregivers and guardians shapes the behaviors of children. Homeless children are likely to develop insecure attachment towards parents, caregivers or/and guardians, leading to behavioral problems (Little et al., 2005).
According to the theories and the previous empirical studies, inability to develop meaningful attachment to people that offer emotional, physical and other forms of support, such as parents, is one of the factors that lead to the development of mental health problems in homeless children (David, Gelberg & Suchman, 2012). Living in insecure environments, poverty and lack of adequate food contribute to problems such as stress and depression. Underfeeding by pregnant women and children who are homeless has a negative impact on cognitive development. Substance abuse and other negative behaviors are also significant causes of the mental health problems in the children that are homeless. Importantly, negative past experiences of homeless children, such domestic violence, contribute to the mental illnesses (Sroufe, 2005).
Thus, the different theories agree to the fact that homelessness contributes to the development of mental health problems in homeless children. However, each theory provides a unique explanation of the source of the problems. For instance, the behavioral theories focus on external factors as the fundamental causes of the health problems while the Freudian, attachment and Erikson’s theories emphasize in the role played by a child’s internal development (David et al., 2012). While most scholars agree on diagnosis process for mental health disorders in homeless children, statistics on prevalence tend to vary a bit. For instance, some scholars have found that 1 in 3 homeless children have a mental health disorder while others have shown that the ratio is 1 to 4 (David et al., 2012).
Almgren, G. R., & Lindhorst, T. (2012). The Safety-Net Health Care System: Health Care at the
Margins. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
David, R. H., Gelberg, L., & Suchman, N, E. (2012). Implications of Homelessness for
Parenting Young Children: A Preliminary Review from a Developmental Attachment Perspective. Infant Ment Health J., 33(1): 1–9.
Eckstein, D. & Kaufman, J. A. (2012). The Role of Birth Order in Personality: An Enduring
Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Adler. Journal of Individual Psychology 68(1), 60-74.
Flamez, B., & Sheperis, C. J. (2015). Diagnosing and Treating Children and Adolescents: A
Guide for Mental Health Professionals. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Galanter, C. A., &. Jensen, P. S. (2016). DSM-5® Casebook and Treatment Guide for Child
Mental Health. Arlington: American Psychiatric Pub.
Haskett, M. E., Armstrong, J. M., & Tisdale, J. (2016). Developmental Status and Social
Emotional Functioning of Young Children Experiencing Homelessness. Early Childhood
Education Journal, 44(2),119–125.
Little, M., Shah, R., Vermeulen, M. J., Gorman, A., Dzendoletas, D., & Ray, J. G. (2005).
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Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2007). Theories of human development. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Palaiologou, I. (2009). The Early Years Foundation Stage: Theory and Practice. London: Sage Publications.
Sroufe, L. A., Egeland, B., Carlson, E. A., & Collins, W. A. (2005). The development of the
person: The Minnesota Study of Risk and Adaptation From Birth to Adulthood. New York, NY: Guilford Press
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