I am looking at cognitive functioning in transition-age young people (adolescents to young adults) living in temporary accommodation at Llamau, a charity supporting homeless young people and vulnerable women across Wales. Some deficits in cognitive functioning have been reported in the homeless population (e.g. Pluck et al., 2010; Parks et al., 2007; Spence et al., 2004), including skills falling under the executive function umbrella such as working memory and theory of mind (e.g. Davidson et al., 2014).
My aim is to profile cognitive functioning in homeless young people and work with Llamau to look at how these young people are supported in relation to education and employment.
More information about Llamau and previous research undertaken as part of the collaboration can be found here.
Selected publications (2014 onwards)
Full list of publications
Research topics and related papers
It is estimated that 1 in 100 young people experience some type of homelessness every year (Depaul UK). More than 40% of homeless young people are not in education, employment, or training (Young & Homeless Report 2013, Homeless Link). The Welsh Government has recognised the need to increase opportunities for these vulnerable young people to get into and maintain employment, education, and training: “Homelessness undermines the ability of people to obtain or sustain employment, or to develop their skills by accessing education and training opportunities. Homelessness therefore impacts on their ability to improve their life chances. Conversely, engagement with training and employment creates the foundation for stable tenancies, from which people can seek to fulfil their aspirations and potential” (Ten Year Homelessness Plan for Wales 2009-2019, Welsh Government).
Aim: To investigate the cognitive ability of young homeless people and the implications this has for personal and community life with the aim of improving function.
1) Do currently homeless young people exhibit cognitive impairments?
2) Which functions are impaired or intact?
3) What other aspects of psychological functioning and life experiences are these features of cognitive function associated with (e.g. substance use; offending behaviour, mental health, maltreatment, time spent in care, little or interrupted education)?
4) Can interventions increase cognitive function with implications for education and employment prospects?
Hodgson, K., Shelton, K. H., Van Den Bree, M. B. and Los, F. J. (2013). Psychopathology in young people experiencing homelessness: A systematic review. American Journal of Public Health, 103(6), e24-e37. (10.2105/AJPH.2013.301318)
Pluck, G., Lee, K-H., David, R., Spence, S. A., and Parks, R. W. (2012). Neuropsychological and Cognitive Performance of Homeless Adults. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 44, 9-15.
Evans, G. W., and Fuller-Rowell, T. E. (2013). Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and young adult working memory: the protective role of self-regulatory capacity. Developmental Science, 16, 688-696.
van den Bree M.B.M, Shelton K.H., Moss S., Thomas H.V., Bonner A., Taylor P.J. (2009). A longitudinal population-based study of factors in adolescence predicting homelessness in young adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 571-578.
2014-2017: ESRC Doctoral Training Grant (+3) and Llamau
2009 – 2013: Cardiff University, BSc Psychology with Professional Placement (2:1)
2014-2017: Cardiff University, currently undertaking PhD in Psychology
2014-2015: Trustee (Treasurer) for Student Volunteering Cardiff
2012-2013: Coordinator of Cardiff Nightline
2011-2012: Placement Student working with Dr. Kate Hodgson on the Study of the Experiences of Young Homeless People (SEYHoPe) at Llamau.
2013-2014: Project Worker at Student Volunteering Cardiff, managing 10 volunteering projects including the Police Student Volunteering Scheme, a social group for young adults on the autism spectrum, and a project involving befriending children and young people with learning disabilities.