Social Connectedness, Self-Efficacy, and Mental Health Outcomes Among Homeless Youth: Prioritizing Approaches to Service Provision
Utilizing a cross-sectional, multi-city design, quantitative interviews were conducted with homeless youth ages 18-24 (N=601) seeking services in shelters, drop-in centers, and transitional housing sites in Denver (n=201), Austin (n=200), and Los Angeles (n=200). Hierarchical logistic regression analyses were employed to investigate correlates of depression, PTSD, and substance use disorder. For each of the 3 models, factors were sequentially entered in 3 steps: 1) demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, city); 2) homelessness experiences (transience, homelessness duration, primary residence); and 3) participants’ scores on social connectedness and self-efficacy measures.
Results indicated that social connectedness significantly buffered against meeting criteria for PTSD (β=-.38, OR=.69, p<.001), depression (β=-.77, OR=.46, p<.001), and substance use disorder (β=-.29, OR=.75, p<.01), whereas self-efficacy was significantly associated with only PTSD (β=-.67, OR=.51, p<.001) and depression (β=-.56, OR=.57, p<.01).
Social connectedness and self-efficacy demonstrate similar protection against adverse mental health outcomes, while social connectedness should be considered in efforts to address substance use. Future research would benefit from further testing interventions that aim to build social connectedness with pro-social peers, family, and service providers for their potentially positive effects on youth outcomes.
Learning Areas:Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences
Compare the relative effects of social connectedness and self-efficacy in buffering homeless youth from common adverse mental health outcomes, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder.
Keyword(s): Homelessness, Mental Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD Candidate, and my primary research interests include interventions with homeless youth, as well as improving sexual and reproductive health outcomes for this population.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.