Trauma Experience Among Homeless Female Veterans: Correlates and Impact on Housing, Clinical, and Psychosocial Outcomes

This study examined lifetime exposure to traumatic events as reported by 581 homeless female veterans enrolled in a Homeless Women Veterans Program across 11 sites to characterize the types of trauma they experienced; their correlation with baseline characteristics; and their association with housing, clinical outcomes, and psychosocial functioning over a 1-year treatment period. Almost all participants endorsed multiple types and episodes of traumatic events. Among the most common were having someone close experience a serious or life-threatening illness (82%) and rape (67%). Exploratory factor analysis revealed 6 potential trauma categories: being robbed, experiencing accident or disasters, illness or death of others, combat, sexual assault, and physical assault. At baseline, trauma from sexual assault was associated with more days homeless (β = .18, p < .001), trauma from accidents or disasters was associated with poorer physical health (β = −.23, p < .001), and trauma from being robbed was related to greater use of drugs (β = .22, p < .001). Trauma reported at baseline, however, was not predictive of 1-year outcomes, suggesting type and frequency of trauma does not negatively affect the housing gains homeless women veterans can achieve through homeless services.

Publication Date: 
In press
Journal Name: 
Journal of Traumatic Stress