Correlates of street-survival behaviors in homeless young adults in four U.S. cities
This study assessed the prevalence and correlates of behaviors used by homeless young people to survive on the streets. Survival behaviors include prostitution, selling blood or plasma, dealing drugs, stealing, and panhandling. One hundred ninety-six homeless young adults from 4 metropolitan areas-Los Angeles, CA (n = 50); Austin, TX (n = 50); Denver, CO (n = 50); and St. Louis, MO (n = 46)-participated in individual, semistructured, face-to-face interviews. Researchers predicted that youth transience would be related to high rates of survival behaviors. Multivariate logistic regression was used to test a model predicting relationships between survival behaviors and transience, employment, substance use, and social support. Young adults who were transient, unemployed, drug-addicted, and reliant on peers for help were more likely to use these survival behaviors. In addition, among the transient subsample, being White, more reliant on peers for help, more transient, and having been victimized were associated with high use of these survival behaviors. Identification of the environmental and demographic factors associated with survival behaviors suggests that there may be value in combining harm-reduction strategies with efforts to reduce the transience of homeless young adults.
© 2011 American Orthopsychiatric Association.
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