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J Adolesc. 2014 Jul;37(5):531-42. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.04.003. Epub 2014 May 8.

The health diagnoses of homeless adolescents: a systematic review of the literature.

Author information

1
Academic Department of Adolescent Medicine, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia. Electronic address: sharonmedlow@gmail.com.
2
Academic Department of Adolescent Medicine, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia; The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006 Australia. Electronic address: emily.klineberg@health.nsw.gov.au.
3
Academic Department of Adolescent Medicine, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia; The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006 Australia. Electronic address: kate.steinbeck@health.nsw.gov.au.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Homelessness during adolescence impacts negatively upon young people's physical and mental wellbeing. To be effective, programs aimed at addressing the health needs of this population must include knowledge of both the presenting and underlying acute and chronic conditions that characterise this high risk group of youth.

METHODS:

We undertook a systematic review of the international literature for studies that used validated instruments and techniques to diagnose prevalence rates of physical and mental health disorders in homeless adolescents.

RESULTS:

Twenty-one studies fulfilled the selection criteria. Of these, nine studies examined mental health diagnoses including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and substance abuse disorders. With one exception, the remaining twelve studies all related to sexually transmitted infections.

CONCLUSION:

Homeless adolescents are diagnosed with widely varying rates of mental health disorders and high rates of sexually transmitted infection. Other likely chronic and acute physical conditions appear to be neglected in the published research.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Diagnosis; Homeless youth; Mental health; Physical health; Systematic review

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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