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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1993 Apr;61(2):335-43.

Children in homeless families: risks to mental health and development.

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  • 1Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis 55455.


This study examined the psychological adjustment of 159 homeless children in comparison with a sample of 62 low-income children living at home. In each group, ages ranged from 8 to 17 years. As expected, homeless children were found to have greater recent stress exposure than housed poor children, as well as more disrupted schooling and friendships. Child behavior problems were above normative levels for homeless children, particularly for antisocial behavior. Across the 2 samples, however, behavior problems were more related to parental distress, cumulative risk status, and recent adversity than to housing status or income. Results suggest that homeless children share many of the risks and problems of other American children being reared in poverty.

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