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J Health Psychol. 2007 Sep;12(5):737-49.

Idealization and neglect: health concepts of homeless adolescents.

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  • 1Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany.


How do homeless adolescents think of health and perceive their own health status? Episodic interviews with (N = 24) homeless adolescents (age 14-20 years) in Germany addressed several aspects of the adolescents' representations of health: their definitions and experiences of health and links between both. Results show the meaning of health for participants in street life. Patterns of perceiving the relevance of health and of possible influences on it reveal a tension between idealizing and neglecting health. A similar tension characterizes how the adolescents refer to their way from family to street life. Conclusions for health promotion for this target group are drawn.

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