Childhood Risk Factors for Homelessness Among Homeless Adults

This paper draws upon data from a large, representative sample of homeless adults to identify negative childhood experiences that may increase vulnerability to homelessness. A host of background variables are described and examined in relation to how they differ according to age, gender and ethnicity. Prevalence of problematic childhood experiences among homeless persons are compared to that of the general population to explore whether these experiences can be considered risk factors for homelessness. Findings indicate that a substantial number of the participants experienced multiple problems as children across several domains including poverty, residential instability and family problems. The authors suggest that the problems that homeless individuals experience as adults have very clear analogs in their childhoods. In addition, vulnerability to homelessness stems from factors unevenly distributed across age, sex, race and ethnicity (authors).

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American Journal of Public Health