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Qual Health Res. 2004 Nov;14(9):1239-54.

Illness experiences of homeless youth.

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University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


The purpose of this study was to document the illness experiences of homeless youth. The research was a focused ethnography with 45 clinic- and street-based homeless youth aged 15 to 23 years. The authors noted gender differences for health-seeking behaviors, with most male youth reporting embarrassment about needing to seek care, and female youth reporting fears over safety issues while ill and homeless. Most youth under age 18 stated that they were often denied health care at hospitals because of their underage status, and youth over age 18 stated that health care bills contributed to their inability to obtain stable housing. Street-based youth reported more illnesses related to substance use and greater reliance on emergency departments for health care than clinic-based youth did. Policies and programs focused on improving the health of homeless youth need to address the differences in illness experiences by age, gender, and sampling site.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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