Although lesbian, gay, and bisexual LGB youth with a history of homelessness running Lesbian homeless women or being evicted from their homes by parents report more psychological symptoms than homeless heterosexual peers, it is unclear whether symptoms are due to homelessness, given the absence of a non-homeless comparison group.
This study longitudinally investigates whether LGB youth with a history of homelessness report more subsequent psychological symptoms than non-homeless LGB youth and examines Lesbian homeless women mediators of any such relationships. Homelessness was associated with subsequent symptoms of anxiety, depression, conduct problems, and substance abuse and to changes in symptoms over time even after controlling for childhood sexual abuse and early development of sexual orientation.
life events, negative social relationships, and social support from friends mediated the relationships between homelessness and symptomatology. These findings suggest the need for interventions Lesbian homeless women reduce stress and enhance social support among LGB youth with a history of homelessness in order to reduce psychological symptoms.
Homelessness among young people is a major public health concern that includes runaways and youth evicted from their homes by parents i. At particular risk for homelessness are lesbian, gay, and bisexual LGB youth Coker et al. In Lesbian homeless women, recent research has found that LGB youth are more likely than heterosexual youth to be runaways or throwaways living on their own, but no more likely to be living as part of a homeless family Corliss et al.
Homeless LGB youth are at far greater risk for psychological symptoms than homeless heterosexual youth see Gattis for review. Homeless LGB youth report significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms Cochran et al. Homeless LGB youth also report higher levels of substance abuse symptoms Bailey et
Lesbian homeless women. Psychological symptoms are often reported both by currently homeless youth and those with a history of homelessness Clatts et al.
The studies that examine differences in psychological symptoms between heterosexual and LGB homeless youth, however, cannot answer the question whether homelessness "Lesbian homeless women" associated with increased psychological symptoms because there is no non-homeless comparison group. Indeed, the differences found between homeless LGB and homeless heterosexual youth may be a function of sexual orientation and related stressful factors rather than homelessness, given the disparities found between LGB and heterosexual youth in the general, youth population Bontempo and D'Augelli ; Fergusson et al.
To examine and understand the potential adverse impact of homelessness on LGB youth, an alternative research design is needed that the psychological symptoms of LGB youth with and without homeless histories. Because such studies would focus exclusively on LGB youth, they would hold constant sexual orientation and, therefore, any potential health disparities associated with sexual orientation. Any differences that emerge would therefore be due to homelessness rather than to sexual orientation.
Although comparisons of psychological symptoms between homeless and non-homeless youth have been made in the general adolescent population McCaskill et al. Young men who have sex with men YMSM who were currently homeless or had a history of homelessness reported significantly more depressive symptoms than YMSM who had never been homeless Clatts et al.
Likewise, YMSM who had ever run away, lived on the streets, or who were evicted from their home were more likely to use drugs, to use more drugs, and to inject drugs than YMSM who had never run away, lived on the streets, or were evicted Kipke et al.
Only recently has research included young homeless lesbian and bisexual women Walls et al. The current study examines the role of homelessness versus no history of homelessness on the psychological symptoms of LGB youth. Another shortcoming of the existing research on homeless LGB youth is its exclusive reliance on the cross-sectional design Gattis As such, research is unclear as to whether experiences of homelessness may lead to greater psychological symptoms or, alternatively, whether youth with high levels of psychological symptoms are more likely to become homeless.
The current prospective longitudinal study examines the relationship of past experiences of homelessness experienced prior to study accrual on subsequent psychological symptoms and changes in psychological symptoms over time among LGB youth. Furthermore, the longitudinal design provides the opportunity to assess the duration of potential consequences of homelessness by, for example, examining whether a history of homelessness has long-term associations with the psychological symptoms of LGB youth.
By examining changes in psychological symptoms over time, we also can examine if history of homelessness is associated with an indicator of symptoms that has been purified of any previous symptomatology and, by extension, any causes of that pre-existing symptomatology.
Thus, one is able to assess the relationships between homelessness and a refined symptom outcome that ranges, in our case, over 6 months from Time 1 to Time 2 and over 12 months from Time 1 to Time 3. This study is the first to employ a longitudinal design to understand the potential long-term effects of homelessness on LGB youth.
As critical as it is to understand the role of homelessness history on psychological symptoms of LGB youth, it is as important to understand the factors that may explain why homelessness has health effects i. If we conceptualize homelessness as a major stressor in the lives of LGB youth, then from a stress, coping, and resiliency framework Cohen and Wills ; Garmezy and Rutter ; Lesbian homeless women and Folkman ; Luthar et al. First, homelessness itself may be a sufficiently stressful experience to have a direct association with subsequent psychological symptoms.
Indeed, as noted earlier, homelessness has been associated with a variety of poor psychological outcomes e. Second, homelessness may lead to experiencing additional stressors by the mechanism of stress proliferation Pearlin et al.
Experiences of homelessness may result in a variety of other stressful events e. These side-effects, in turn, may lead to more psychological symptoms. Third, homelessness may lead to lower availability or erosion of resiliency resources that serve to protect youth from "Lesbian homeless women" negative effects of homelessness. Indeed, experiences of homelessness may result in greater isolation from family and friends, resulting in compromised or eroded social support, lack of emotional confidants, and fewer sources of guidance.
These, in turn, may place youth at risk for greater psychological symptoms. Both the stress-proliferation and resiliency perspectives would be confirmed by mediation of the relationships between homelessness and subsequent psychological symptoms either by other stressors i. Although Lesbian homeless women direct effects of stress, negative social relationships, and social support on the psychological symptoms of LGB youth have been examined e.
The relationships between a history of homelessness and psychological symptomatology and potential mediators thereof must Lesbian homeless women independent of other factors i. For example, childhood sexual abuse may result in LGB youth's running away from home Cochran et al. Likewise, the developing sexual orientation of LGB youth may lead to conflicts Lesbian homeless women parents and result in youth being evicted from the home Gangamma et al.
Moreover, development of sexual orientation by itself or at an early age may be stressful Friedman et al. As such, it is unclear if it is homelessness itself or these other potential co-occurring or precipitating childhood experiences that might account for the subsequent psychological symptoms examined in this study. LGB youth are disproportionately represented among homeless youth and LGB homeless youth have been found to experience significantly more psychological symptoms than homeless heterosexual youth.
However, research on LGB homeless youth has not examined the longitudinal relationships between homelessness and psychological symptoms.
Therefore, the current study compares LGB youth with and without a history of homelessness on subsequent internalizing and externalizing symptoms. We hypothesize that LGB Lesbian homeless women with a history of homelessness will report more psychological symptoms at Times 1, 2, and 3 than youth without a history of homelessness even after controlling for early childhood covariates sexual abuse and early development of sexual orientation and for psychological symptoms at Time 1 "Lesbian homeless women" examining change in psychological symptoms over time.
Furthermore, the study examines factors i. We hypothesize that stressful events, negative social relationships, and social support will mediate the relationships between a history of homelessness and psychological symptoms, while being sensitive to the possibility that homelessness may have a direct effect on symptoms despite the mediators. Five youth were excluded because they did not meet eligibility criteria i.
The youth's mean age was Their ethnic backgrounds were diverse: Youth provided voluntary and signed informed consent. Instead, an adult at each CBO served
Lesbian homeless women loco parentis to safeguard the rights of every minor in the study. The university's Institutional Review Board and the recruitment sites Lesbian homeless women the study.
All data were gathered by means of a structured interview, lasting approximately 2- to 3-h, at recruitment Time 1 with follow-up interviews occurring 6 and 12 months later Time 2 and Time 3, respectively. Interviews occurred in a private room at the recruitment sites at Time 1 and in a private location convenient for the youth at subsequent assessments.
Interviewers were college educated and of the same sex as the youth. Youth were interviewed between October and Junewith follow-up interviews conducted through August Youth's history of homelessness was assessed by two questions at Time 1 with, when appropriate, follow-up questions Rotheram-Borus et al.
One question assessed running away: Three comments about our homeless measure follow. First, this measure, which assessed history of running away or eviction from their homes by parents rather than just current homelessness, is consistent with some research on homeless and runaway youth e. Second, we focus on youth who are on their own, rather than on youth whose families are homeless, because, as stated earlier, LGB youth are at greater risk for the former, but not the latter Corliss Lesbian homeless women al.
Third, our measure, in tandem with the sample, captures a broader range of youth than studies that have focused
Lesbian homeless women on youth who access homeless services or shelters. We include such youth, as well youth who are unstably housed or doubled up with friends, sexual partners, etc. Indeed, the exclusive use of youth who access shelters has been critiqued Zerger et al. The BSI has been previously validated among adolescent samples Derogatis The mean of each subscale was computed, with high scores indicating elevated distress.
Externalizing symptoms composed conduct problems and substance abuse symptoms. A count of the problems e. As part of the Alcohol and Drug Schedule Rosario et al.
Eleven items, derived from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Lesbian homeless women National Institute of Mental Healthassessed substance abuse symptoms e. A count of the number of items endorsed was computed as the index of substance abuse.
We used a checklist of stressful life events that had been developed for adolescents Johnson and McCutcheonupdated for use with gay male youth in New York City Rotheram-Borus et al.
The item checklist contains 12 items related to homosexuality and 34 items related to events occurring in several domains, for example, family, personal, peer, and school e. The checklist was administered at Time 1. A count of the number of events experienced was used as the indicator of stress. The item Social Obstruction Scale Gurleyoriginally developed for adolescents, was administered at Time 1 to assess the of negative social relationships, including being "Lesbian homeless women" poorly, being ignored, and being manipulated by others e.
Procidano and Heller's Lesbian homeless women, designed to assess adolescents' perceived social support from family and from friends, were adapted, deleting items that might be confounded with psychological health. The two resulting item measures were administered at Time 1, using a yes 1 or no 0 response format e. The youth was asked if she or he had ever, before age 13 years, had sexual activity with an adult or with another youth more than 5 years older than her or him, with sexual activity for abuse defined as oral, vaginal or anal sex, touching or being touched on the breasts or genitals, exposing oneself or someone exposing themselves, or someone rubbing their body against the youth in a sexual way.
Youth were asked the ages when they were first erotically attracted to, fantasized about, and were aroused by erotica focusing on the same sex. Similar items assessed the ages at which youth first experienced attractions, fantasies, and erotic arousal for the other sex.
The youth also were asked the ages when they first experienced any of several sexual activities with the same sex, with the earliest age selected as the age of first same-sex sexual behavior or activity.
Comparable items assessed the age at first other-sex sexual behavior or activity. The minimum age of an unfolding same-sex internal sexual orientation or experiencing sex with the same sex was computed as the measure of development of same-sex sexual orientation, as was a comparable measure of development of other-sex sexual orientation.
The minimum age of developing a same-sex or other-sex sexual orientation composed the measure Lesbian homeless women sexual orientation development used here. We used the original true—false response format, but deleted 2 of 31 items we considered inappropriate for "Lesbian homeless women." A factor analysis found that 12 items loaded on a single factor.
Descriptive statistics of homelessness are provided. Homeless mean comparisons were made using the t test. Pearson correlations assessed the associations between homelessness and other potential predictors with levels of psychological symptoms. Linear regression was used to examine the role of homelessness and potential mediators in "Lesbian homeless women" the internalizing symptoms i. For the linear regressions, controls were imposed for early childhood stressors and other covariates that were significantly related to the variables of interest at the bivariate or zero-order level of analysis.
In addition, controls were imposed for earlier levels of psychological symptoms assessed at Time 1, thus resulting in analysis of residualized change in psychological symptoms over
Lesbian homeless women. Homeless lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth Lesbian homeless women the ages of 10 and 25 Among homeless and LGBT youth, 35% of females and 65% of males report a.
In recent years, there has been extensive research in the area of youth homelessness both in Canada and internationally. We have seen a great deal of. ). Only recently has research included young homeless lesbian and bisexual women (Walls et al. ), finding that homeless LGB youth.