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Usborne, E., Lydon, J.E., & Taylor, D.M. (2009). Goals and Social Relationships: Windows Into the Motivation and Well-Being of "Street Kids". Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 39, 1057-1082.



Research investigating homeless youth or, as they prefer, “street kids,” has primarily described their dysfunction. In order to more thoroughly document their psychological reality and account for variability in their functioning, this study explored the close relationships and personal projects of 50 street kids. Self-determination theory provides a theoretical framework for hypotheses concerning the relationships that social networks and goals have with motivation and subjective well-being. The size of participants’ social networks was positively related to internalization and positive well-being. Goal pursuit was also positively related to internalization and positive well-being. These findings—along with descriptive information documenting street kids’ motivation, well-being, and family contact—afford us a view beyond their dysfunction, and elucidate factors associated with their optimal functioning.

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