Risk factors for homelessness among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: A developmental milestone approach

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youths are over-represented in the homeless population. To examine why some LGB youths become homeless, this report compares homeless and non-homeless LGB youths. Of the 156 LGB youths, 48% reported ever being homeless (i.e., running away or being evicted from home). Results indicate that sexual orientation awareness and the initiation of sexual behavior occurred earlier in homeless than in non-homeless LGB youths and predated the first homeless episode. Substance use was more frequent and first occurred at an earlier age in homeless as compared to non-homeless LGB youths; however, substance use occurred subsequent to first homelessness. Childhood sexual abuse was associated with homelessness; and, early sexual orientation development was related to homelessness among youths without a history of sexual abuse. Findings suggest that interventions should help youths cope with their unfolding sexual orientation and work to prevent or address the consequences of sexual abuse.

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Children and Youth Services Review