Chapin Graham, OT/S

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People who experience homelessness (PEH) prioritize survival occupations over others. They also encounter systemic barriers to engagement, which leads to occupational deprivation. Veterans who experience homelessness (VEH) are disproportionately impacted: low-income veterans are twice as likely to become homeless than the general population. Digital technology serves as a way for people to engage with their community, participate in leisure, and use the internet to find work, a place to live, or where to eat. Many PEH have cell phones, but fewer than 50% use them for occupations outside of social participation. This literature review aimed to investigate the existing literature pertaining to the impact of digital literacy programming on the quality of life of VEH. The guiding research question for this scoping review was: Does a functional digital literacy program for veterans experiencing homelessness impact their ability to use digital technology to increase occupational participation? There are four major themes that can be gathered from the current literature. The first is that VEH are occupationally deprived. Secondly, VEH and PEH use digital technologies with varying confidence levels and with differing results. The third theme is that programming for PEH has been successful in the past to improve quality of life, but that different program structures promote different outcomes. Finally, digital literacy improves occupational performance. The exploration of these four themes shows that a digital literacy program for VEH would be beneficial to their occupational engagement. There is a gap in the literature providing evidence for digital literacy for VEH and how it would improve quality of life, which demonstrates the need for further research. This scoping review supports the need for a digital literacy program at the VA for VEH, which will be implemented starting in January 2025 and whose outcome measures will provide some research to fill that gap.

Faculty Mentor

Andrea D. Fairman, Ph.D., MOT, OTR/L, ATP, DRP

Academic Discipline

College of Health & Wellness



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