4. Discrimination & Mental Health Outcomes of Black Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Racial, sexual and gender minority youth who also experience homelessness must, during critical stages of development, simultaneously manage stressors that accompany racial minority, sexual and gender minority, and homelessness. Evidence suggests that adolescents and young adults who self-identify with one or more of these marginalized statuses report higher rates of symptoms of depression and suicidality. A substantial body of evidence suggests that discrimination targeted at individuals with any of those statuses contributes to worse mental health outcomes.

Although researchers are increasingly examining how marginalization affects adolescents and young adults, we continue to lack a clear understanding of how the combination of racial minority, sexual and gender minority, and homeless statuses may contribute to developmental outcomes. Though it is clear that the these stigmatized statuses predict experiences of discrimination targeted at each status, it is less clear how the experiences of stigma and discrimination targeted at multiple statuses may, when experienced concurrently, be associated with mental health outcomes. This project seeks to improve knowledge of how Black racial status, sexual minority status and homelessness are associated with symptoms of depression and suicidality among adolescents and young adults, and to investigate how much of the association is accounted for by perceived discrimination targeted at each status.  

Alex Abramovich
Jama Shelton
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness