Do Faith-Based Residential Care Services Affect the Religious Faith and Clinical Outcomes of Homeless Veterans?
Data on 1,271 clients in three residential care services funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs was used to examine: (1) how religious-oriented programs differ in their social environment from secular programs, (2) how religious-oriented programs affect the religiosity of clients, and (3) how client religiosity is associated with outcomes. Programs were categorized as: secular, secular now but religious in the past, and currently religiously oriented. Results showed (1) participants in programs that were currently religious reported the greatest program clarity, but secular services reported the most supportive environments; (2) participants in programs that were currently religious did not report increases in religious faith or religious participation over time; nevertheless (3) greater religious participation was associated with greater improvement in housing, mental health, substance abuse, and quality of life. These findings suggest religious-oriented programs have little influence on clients’ religious faith, but more religiously oriented clients have somewhat superior outcomes.
KeywordsReligious faith Homeless persons Mental health services Residential care
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