Memory impairment among people who are homeless: A systematic review

Cognitive impairment may interfere with an individual's ability to function independently in the community and may increase the risk of becoming and remaining homeless. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature on memory deficits among people who are homeless in order to gain a better understanding of its nature, causes and prevalence. Studies that measured memory functioning as an outcome among a sample of homeless persons were included. Data on sampling, outcome measures, facet of memory explored and prevalence of memory impairment were extracted from all selected research studies. Included studies were evaluated using a critical appraisal process targetted for reviewing prevalance studies. Eleven studies were included in the review. Verbal memory was the most commonly studied facet of memory. Potential contributing factors to memory deficits among persons who are homeless were explored in seven studies. Memory deficits were common among the samples of homeless persons studied. However, there was a great deal of variation in the methodology and quality of the included studies. Conceptualisations of “homelessness” also differed across studies. There is a need for more controlled research using validated neuropsychological tools to evaluate memory impairment among people who are homeless.

Publication Date: 
Journal Name: