Social capital and women’s narratives of homelessness and multiple exclusion in northern England

Joanne McGrath*, Stephen Crossley, Monique Lhussier, Natalie Forster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Women experiencing three or more co-occurring issues (homelessness, substance misuse, mental health) are a highly vulnerable population associated with multimorbidity. Severe and multiple disadvantage (SMD), is a term reflecting public system inclusion criteria and epidemiology, and the association of this combination of issues with extreme health inequalities. Taking women’s life stories of trajectories into social exclusion in north of England as its focus, this paper aims to explore the complexity of social contexts in which women navigate health inequalities. Of the few studies that have examined women’s experiences of SMD through the lens of social capital, most have focused on network size, rather than the quality and influence of the relationships which precipitate or contextualise experiences of social exclusion. Building on a Bourdieusian approach to homelessness, we utilise case studies to offer a theoretically- grounded analysis which illustrates the relationship between social capital and SMD within this vulnerable population. Our results illustrate how structural contexts, and specifically social capital accrual and social bonding processes particularly pertinent to women can act to both ameliorate and perpetuate social exclusion. We conclude by arguing that health inequalities cannot be tackled as single-issue processes but instead are multi-layered and complex.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2023


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