Title page for ETD etd-02242009-095115

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Latter, Philip Joseph
Author's Email Address pjlatter@vt.edu
URN etd-02242009-095115
Title Trailers and Mental Health: An Exploration of Psychological Distress Amongst Mobile Home Dwellers
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Calasanti, Toni M. Committee Chair
Smith, Barbara Ellen Committee Member
Yuan, Anastasia Sue Vogt Committee Member
  • social support
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mobile homes
  • stigma
Date of Defense 2009-02-04
Availability unrestricted
This thesis examines whether residing in a mobile home predicts higher rates of psychological distress. Using combined data from the General Social Survey (1994-2006), I differentiate housing into four distinct categories: mobile homes, conventional homes, apartments, and townhouses. After looking extensively at the history and experience of residing in a mobile home, particularly when viewed through a social stress theory lens, I hypothesize that mobile home residents should have higher levels of psychological distress after socioeconomic variables are controlled. While mobile home residents have the highest raw scores for psychological distress (a composite of depression and anxiety), these did not hold significance after the inclusion of the socioeconomic and control variables. Conversely, social network ties were stronger in the mobile home community than in other types of housing and this remained so after socioeconomic variables were included. This thesis supports Shelton, et al.’s (1983) findings that mobile home residents are in many ways more similar to their conventional home counterparts than those living in apartments. It also supports social stress theory’s assertion that social support is associated with better mental health and that socioeconomic factors are paramount when predicting levels of psychological distress.
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