Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Mobley, Catherine


This thesis explores the identity talk strategies used by sheltered homeless women to navigate their personal identity in the midst of experiencing a deeply stigmatized social identity. Based on field observation and twenty qualitative interviews with sheltered homeless women at a Midwestern homeless shelter, this analysis examines the identity talk strategies used by sheltered women to disavow stigmatized social identities and to restore cognitive congruence. Using the identity talk framework of Snow and Anderson (1987), three categories of identity talk are explored: distancing, embracement, and fictive storytelling. Findings suggest that sheltered homeless women actively utilize these identity talk strategies to purposefully disavow stigmatized identities; however, sheltered homeless women utilize these identity talk strategies in divergent ways.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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