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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Homelessness among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youths: Health and psychosocial correlates

Margaret Rosario, PhD, Department of Psychology, City University of New York, NAC Building 7-120, Convent Avenue and 138th Street, New York, NY 10031, Eric W. Schrimshaw, MA, Psychology, Social/Personality, City University of New York, Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016, 212-304-6489, eschrimshaw@gc.cuny.edu, and Joyce Hunter, DSW, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies/NYSPI, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 29, New York, NY 10032.

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) adolescents are potentially at higher risk for homelessness than heterosexual youths because they are rejected by or run away from families that are unaccepting of the youths’ sexuality. The lifetime prevalence of homelessness and its health and psychosocial correlates were examined among an ethnically diverse sample of 156 urban GLB youths (ages 14-21) recruited from gay-focused social and recreational programs. Nearly half (48%) of the GLB youths reported ever being homeless (37% had runaway and 24% were throwaways). The prevalence of homelessness did not differ by gender, age, parental SES, or sexual identity (bisexual vs. gay/lesbian). Several health and psychsocial differences were identified. For example, GLB youths with a history of homelessness reported more symptoms of depression (r = .21), more conduct problems (r = .27), more cigarette use (r = .21), greater number of illicit drugs (r = .30), more symptoms of substance abuse (r = .25), and more lifetime same-sex sexual episodes (r =.19). GLB youths with a history of homelessness also reported significantly less family support (r = -.21), more negative social relationships (r = .22), more gay-related stressful experiences (r = .17), and more non-gay-related stressful events (r = .17) than non-homeless GLB youths. These findings indicate that GLB youths have a high prevalence of homelessness and that homeless GLB youths are at significantly greater risk for psychological distress and detrimental health behaviors. Further, these findings demonstrate the need to target GLB youths to prevent homelessness and to prevent and treat distress and health risks among homeless GLB youths.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homelessness, Gay

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

LGBT Youth Research

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA