Correlates of street-survival behaviors in homeless young adults in four U.S. cities

Kristin Ferguson-Colvin, Kimberly Bender, Sanna Thompson, Bin Xie, David Pollio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-409
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume81
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Young Adult
Sex Work
Theft
Harm Reduction
Los Angeles
Carbon Monoxide
Young Adults
Homeless
Social Support
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Survival Rate
Cross-Sectional Studies
Logistic Models
Research Personnel
Demography
Interviews
Transience

Keywords

  • Drug addiction
  • Employment
  • Homeless young adults
  • Peer connectedness
  • Substance abuse
  • Survival behaviors
  • Transience
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Correlates of street-survival behaviors in homeless young adults in four U.S. cities. / Ferguson-Colvin, Kristin; Bender, Kimberly; Thompson, Sanna; Xie, Bin; Pollio, David.

In: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 81, No. 3, 07.2011, p. 401-409.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ferguson-Colvin, Kristin ; Bender, Kimberly ; Thompson, Sanna ; Xie, Bin ; Pollio, David. / Correlates of street-survival behaviors in homeless young adults in four U.S. cities. In: American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 2011 ; Vol. 81, No. 3. pp. 401-409.
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