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Research Article  |   March 2005
The Meaning of Computers to a Group of Men Who Are Homeless
Author Affiliations
  • Kathleen Swenson Miller, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, 130 South 9th Street, Suite 810, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107; Kathleen.Swenson-Miller@jefferson.edu
  • Stacey Bunch-Harrison, MS, OTR/L, is Coordinator of Specialized Services, Resources for Human Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Brett Brumbaugh, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Resources for Human Development, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Rekha Sankaran Kutty, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Horizon House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Kathleen FitzGerald, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Manor Care, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Article Information
Community-Based Mental Health Practice
Research Article   |   March 2005
The Meaning of Computers to a Group of Men Who Are Homeless
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2005, Vol. 59, 191-197. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.2.191
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2005, Vol. 59, 191-197. doi:10.5014/ajot.59.2.191
Abstract

The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the experience with computers and the meaning of computers to a group of homeless men living in a long-term shelter. This descriptive exploratory study used semistructured interviews with seven men who had been given access to computers and had participated in individually tailored occupation based interventions through a Work Readiness Program. Three themes emerged from analyzing the interviews: access to computers, computers as a bridge to life-skill development, and changed self-perceptions as a result of connecting to technology. Because they lacked computer knowledge and feared failure, the majority of study participants had not sought out computers available through public access. The need for access to computers, the potential use of computers as a medium for intervention, and the meaning of computers to these men who represent the digital divide are described in this study.