Avoidance strategies: stress, appraisal and coping in hostel accommodation

Lynne McMordie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


Living in temporary accommodation (TA) can impact negatively on social and emotional well-being, particularly where it is poor-quality, large-scale, or congregate in nature. None-the-less, the ‘avoidance’ of TA, where an individual will sleep rough or squat when a bed space is available for their use, often provokes puzzlement on the part of the public, service providers and policy makers. Homeless people who abandon or avoid TA are often viewed as holding beliefs, characteristics or traits that render them unable or unwilling to make choices which prioritise their own well-being. Drawing on cognitive appraisal theory, and qualitative testimony from those with direct experience of TA in Belfast, this article challenges these perspectives, arguing that the avoidance of TA is better understood as a rational and reasoned response to an environment where intolerable levels of stress often pertain and individual control over stressors is extremely limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-396
Number of pages17
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2021


  • abandonment
  • Homelessness
  • hostel
  • rough sleeping
  • temporary accommodation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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