My Publications

"Homelessness and the High Performance Cycle: A New Lens for Studying Exit Strategies"

w/ Brent Hutchison, Ke’ala Cabulagan, John McMullin, and Curtis Child. 2015.  Journal of Social Service Research

Although social work scholarship has recognized the presence and utility of goals and goal setting among the homeless, the literature remains underdeveloped. This study evaluates the extent to which the work motivation literature, mostly applied in formal business settings, can improve current understandings of how persons successfully escape homelessness. Specifically, this study focuses on the high performance cycle, a model in organizational behavior research that outlines the specific processes involved in setting and achieving goals and that provides a robust framework for analyzing goal setting among homeless persons. The article compares those who have successfully exited homelessness to those who remain chronically homeless using 40 in-depth, semistructured interviews with homeless center clients in a multicity area in the Intermountain West. Interviews addressed the employment and housing histories of research participants, their views about living unhoused, and their attempts to exit homelessness. The participants’ narratives matched themes described in goal-setting research, which suggests the utility of adopting processes outlined by the high performance cycle when assisting clients in exiting homelessness. Social service professionals can benefit by incorporating the goal-setting scholarship in their work with homeless populations. Future research might use quantitative surveys and experiments to determine the generalizability of this exploratory analysis.

Sociology of Suffering

2020. In Progress

Gay Mormon Pioneers and Mortal Trials: Navigating the Mormon Sexual Field of Struggles

2020. Submitted to Journal

Many ask, “Why do you stay Mormon?” to sexual minorities in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the past 5-10 years, there have been increasing tensions between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and LGBTQ movements. Research on sexual minorities in conservative religions also often pit homosexual identities against conservative religious creeds. However, this research shows how this conception misses how LGBTQ+ persons navigate fields with a history of embodied beliefs and practices, or a habitus. Relying on data collected from 56 interviews with lesbian, gay and bisexual Mormons and 30 hours of ethnographic research at LGBTQ Mormon conferences and firesides, this paper revisits identity research done on religion and sexuality using Bourdieu’s concepts of field, habitus, and hysteresis to explore why and how sexual minorities remained in conservative religions. This paper outlines how participants’ ground their sexual identities in Mormon frames, engage in a “field of struggles” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992: 101) with Mormon gatekeepers, and how online LGBTQ Mormon communities assist in the reformulation of a working habitus for navigating Mormonism. This paper advances our understanding of “identity conflicts” using habitus and fields as a guide and also pushes us to consider institutions as sexual fields, affecting our sexual understanding and practices.

Negotiating Adulthood in Young Adult Shelters: The Liminality of Young Adults in Social Policy

2020. In Progress