Navigation Links
Homeless youth need more than treatment for substance abuse, study says

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A new study of homeless youth suggests that treating substance abuse and mental health problems may not be enough to help get teens off the streets.

Instead, researchers found that creating more opportunities for work, education and medical care were the most important factors in reducing homelessness.

A study of 180 homeless youth in New Mexico found that those with the most social stability, such as those who attended school more often or those who had a job, were most likely to reduce their homeless days over a six-month period.

While youth who had a history of abuse or mental health problems were more likely to become homeless, those same characteristics did not predict teens and young adults getting off the street six months later.

It looks like the predictors of homelessness might be different than the predictors of exiting homelessness. So that means prevention targets should be different from intervention targets, said Natasha Slesnick, lead author of the study and associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

When youre homeless and youre entrenched in the homeless lifestyle, without housing and without stabilization, its hard to get out of it. Its hard to get homeless youth off of alcohol and drugs when theyre still trying to get their basic needs met. And a lot of the kids use alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with being homeless, she said.

The research was published recently in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The study was conducted between 2001 and 2005 and is one of the first to look at the predictors of homelessness in youth, as most of the research on the homeless focuses on adults. Research focused on 180 homeless youth between 14 and 22 years old who accessed New Mexico drop-in centers.

Those youth who were homeless for at least three months participated in follow-up interviews three and six months after beginning the program. They were given a care package of food, toiletries, socks and underwear at the initial interview and received $50 for each follow-up.

The study found that youth who engaged in high-risk behaviors were more likely to remain homeless and be more resistant to change. These teens and young adults reported participating in the most dangerous behaviors including unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, and intravenous drug use.

Not only are they the ones at risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases but theyre also entrenched in homelessness. These kids are probably the most vulnerable, Slesnick said.

For these youth, more intensive one-on-one treatment was successful in reducing their homeless days after six months. These sessions focused on identifying and treating the individuals drug use and mental health problems, such as depression or suicidal behaviors.

We have to figure out how to engage those kids who are linked to the street subculture and reengage them back into society through education, employment, and other more socially valued activities, Slesnick said.

Part of the problem lies in the strong connections to other homeless youth who are participating in similar behaviors, she said. These connections play an important role in determining how kids deal with the stress and their likelihood of becoming chronically homeless adults.

Research also suggests that strong family support and identification with an individuals traditional culture is a strong predictor of change. Latino youth in the study were more likely to get off the street after six months than any other group. Slesnick found that this group had higher levels of attachment to family members and stronger support networks, resulting in lower substance abuse and reduced homeless days.

Males were also more likely to reduce their homeless days after six months. Previous studies have suggested that homeless males are more susceptible to environmental stress and thus, more likely to leave the street to escape that stress.

I talk so much about the problems kids have, but its a social problem and the kids are a victim of that problem. So whats really important is to prevent homelessness at a policy level and a higher government level. But meanwhile, we have a lot of kids who are suffering and we need to do something about that now, Slesnick said.

Slesnick is currently conducting a study in Columbus, Ohio focusing on the differences between intensive intervention, case management and brief intervention methods on homeless youth.


Contact: Natasha Slesnick
Ohio State University

Related medicine news :

1. $8,000 Winning Bids at Governors Livestock Auction to Benefit College-Bound Youth and Homeless
2. United Way of Greater Los Angeles Kicks Off Initiative to Prevent and End Homelessness With HomeWalk 2007
3. The Jericho Project Announces Rehabilitation Residence for Homeless and Low-Income Veterans
4. Homeless Vets - VA Sets the Record Straight
5. New Gallup Survey Finds Half of Los Angeles Area Residents Have Taken in a Near-Homeless Person, One-Third Fear Homelessness Themselves
6. Homeless cells find temporary lodging -- and their demise
7. Detroit Homeless Men Adopt Local Families for Christmas
8. California Department of Social Services Announces Improved Access to Disability Payments to Homeless Individuals
9. More than two-thirds of sexually active NYC youth use condoms, but other forms of birth control lag
10. Study documents rapid increase in youth bipolar disorder diagnoses
11. Rates of bipolar diagnosis in youth rapidly climbing, treatment patterns similar to adults
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of ... than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population ... global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... DE (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... member of the well-respected Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s ... an independent group of Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 ... ... you start failing. Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the ... best income protection solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... CBD College is proud to announce that on November 20th, ... its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this very short ... universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is officially the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap ... and Dr. Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s ... STEMI and Sepsis conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the  "2016 ... the Global Cell Surface Testing Market: ... report to their offering.  --> ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research and ... the "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type (Dressings, ... End User (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography - ... --> --> ... description, definition and forecast of the global advanced wound ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... the "Self Administration of High Viscosity Drugs" ... ) has announced the addition of the ... report to their offering. --> Research ... addition of the "Self Administration of High ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: