Motivational and cognitive factors linked to community integration in homeless veterans: Study 2 - clinically diverse sample

Psychol Med. 2021 Dec;51(16):2915-2922. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720001609. Epub 2020 May 29.


Background: In an initial study (Study 1), we found that motivation predicted community integration (i.e. functional recovery) 12 months after receiving housing in formerly homeless Veterans with a psychotic disorder. The current study examined whether the same pattern would be found in a broader, more clinically diverse, homeless Veteran sample without psychosis.

Methods: We examined four categories of variables as potential predictors of community integration in non-psychotic Veterans: perception, non-social cognition, social cognition, and motivation at baseline (after participants were engaged in a permanent supported housing program but before receiving housing) and a 12-month follow-up. A total of 82 Veterans had a baseline assessment and 41 returned for testing after 12 months.

Results: The strongest longitudinal association was between an interview-based measure of motivation (the motivation and pleasure subscale from the Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms) at baseline and measures of social integration at 12 months. In addition, cross-lagged panel analyses were consistent with a causal influence of general psychiatric symptoms at baseline driving social integration at 12 months, and reduced expressiveness at baseline driving independent living at 12 months, but there were no significant causal associations with measures of motivation.

Conclusions: The findings from this study complement and reinforce those in Veterans with psychosis. Across these two studies, our findings suggest that motivational factors are associated at baseline and at 12 months and are particularly important for understanding and improving community integration in recently-housed Veterans across psychiatric diagnoses.

Keywords: Veterans; community integration; homeless; longitudinal; motivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Community Integration
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons*
  • Motivation
  • Veterans* / psychology