National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Mental Disorder, Subsistence Strategies, and Victimization among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Homeless and Runaway Adolescents

Whitbeck, L. B.,
Chen, Xiaojin,
Hoyt, D. R.,
Tyler, K.,
Johnson, K. D.
Year Published: 2004
Journal Article
Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Sociology Department, Faculty Publications. Paper 53
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Sociology Department

These authors compared participation in deviant subsistence strategies, street victimization, and lifetime prevalence of five mental disorders (conduct disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse) among heterosexual males and females (n = 366) and gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB; n = 63) homeless and runaway adolescents. They used data from the first wave of a longitudinal study of homeless youth in four Midwestern states. The results indicate that GLB adolescents were more likely to have been physically and sexually abused by caretakers, to engage in risky survival strategies when on their own (including survival sex), to be physically and sexually victimized when on the streets, and to meet criteria for mental disorder than were their heterosexual counterparts. The data also revealed different patterns in meeting criteria for mental health disorders among male and female GLB youth. Modified Author Abstract.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Sociology, 717 Oldfather Hall, Lincoln, NE, 68588-0324; E-mail:
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