National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Mental Health and Emerging Adulthood Among Homeless Young People

Whitbeck, L. B.
Year Published: 2009
Book (298 pages)
Psychology Press
ISBN: 978-1-84169-752-9

This book presents findings from the first study to follow homeless and runaway adolescents into early adulthood and to examine the mental health consequences of runaway episodes and street life. Part 1 provides background by defining and enumerating homeless adolescents and homeless young adults, and by presenting theoretical perspectives on emerging adulthood and the origins and persistence of maladaptive behaviors. It also provides a detailed overview of the study upon which the book is based. Part 2 focuses on the mental health of the adolescents, reviewing findings on specific psychiatric diagnoses and the emergence and persistence of the disorders over time. Part 3 details the risk factors associated with homelessness, while Part 4 focuses on protective factors, adaptation, and participation in the street economy. Part 5 reconsiders the usefulness of psychiatric diagnoses in the context of street life and addresses the question of overdiagnosing the adolescents. It also summarizes where theyoung people were in their transition to adulthood at the end of the study. Each chapter in the book includes a literature review, study findings, and discussion of theoretical and policy implications.

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