Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Sci Med. 2006 Jan;62(1):1-12. Epub 2005 Jun 27.

Pathways to youth homelessness.

Author information

1
The Clinical Psychology Unit (F12), School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW 2006, Australia.

Abstract

Research documents high levels of psychopathology among homeless youth. Most research, however, has not distinguished between disorders that are present prior to homelessness and those that develop following homelessness. Hence whether psychological disorders are the cause or consequence of homelessness has not been established. The aim of this study is to investigate causal pathways to homelessness amongst currently homeless youth in Australia. The study uses a quasi-qualitative methodology to generate hypotheses for larger-scale research. High rates of psychological disorders were confirmed in the sample 35 homeless youth aged 14-25. The rates of psychological disorders at the point of homelessness were greater than in normative samples, but the rates of clinical disorder increased further once homeless. Further in-depth analyses were conducted to identify the temporal sequence for each individual with a view to establishing a set of causal pathways to homelessness and trajectories following homelessness that characterised the people in the sample. Five pathways to homelessness and five trajectories following homelessness were identified that accounted for the entire sample. Each pathway constituted a series of interactions between different factors similar to that described by Craig and Hodson (1998. Psychological Medicine, 28, 1379-1388) as "complex subsidiary pathways". The major findings were that (1) trauma is a common experience amongst homeless youth prior to homelessness and figured in the causal pathways to homelessness for over half of the sample; (2) once homeless, for the majority of youth there is an increase in the number of psychological diagnoses including drug and alcohol diagnoses; and (3) crime did not precede homelessness for all but one youth; however, following homelessness, involvement in criminal activity was common and became a distinguishing factor amongst youth. The implications of these findings for future research and service development are discussed.

PMID:
15985321
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2005.05.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center