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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2006 Sep;52(5):447-58.

Homeless children and parents: short-term mental health outcome.

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  • 1University of Leicester, UK.



Homeless families are an increasing but marginalised part of society. They have diverse and complex needs that have often not been addressed by the available services. There is some evidence that psychosocial factors continue to be detrimental to the mental health of these families even after rehousing.


Thirty-five homeless families were assessed on their mental health (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory Scale, Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents), parenting problems (Parenting Daily Hassles Scale), and service satisfaction (semi-structured interview) following admission to two homeless hostels, and four months later, when most families (69%) had been rehoused in the community.


Children and their mothers continued to experience high rates of mental health problems whilst resident in the hostels and after rehousing. However, a proportion of parents expressed a subjective improvement, which was often associated with their housing and social circumstances. A diverse range of further needs was described.


There is a need to address the complex problems experienced by these families, with housing only forming one aspect of this provision. Interagency strategy, commissioning and services are required to meet the needs of this vulnerable group of parents and children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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