National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Homeless But Connected: The Role of Heterogeneous Social Network Ties and Social Networking Technology in the Mental Health Outcomes of Street-Living Adolescents

Rice, Eric,
Kurzban, Seth,
Diana, Ray
Year Published: 2011
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Community Mental Health Journal
Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.
Community Mental Health Journal, 48(6): 692-698, December 2012.
School of Social Work, University of Southern California

Although social integration tends to have positive effects on the mental health of housed adolescents, the role of homeless adolescents' social networks is more ambiguous. Researchers collected social network data from 136 homeless adolescents in Hollywood, California to examine how network ties are associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Face-to-face relationships with street-based peers were a risk factor for both anxiety and depression, while contacting home-based friends through social networking technology was found to be protective for depression. The authors suggest that community-based and public agencies serving homeless adolescents should consider facilitating the maintenance of these protective relationships by providing internet access. Modified Author Abstract.

Correspondence to: Eric Rice, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, 1149 S. Hill St., Suite 360, Los Angeles, CA 90036; E-mail:, Website: