The Relationship Between Homelessness and Behavior Problems Among Youth in North Texas: A Brief Report
(a more recently published version of this article may be available)
This journal article describes a study that examined the relationship between homelessness and behavior problems in children by comparing families with children who are homeless with families with children who have never been homeless. The researchers obtained data from the Children's Health Assessment and Planning Survey collected by the Children's Health System of Texas. The average age of the children participating in the study was 12. By parent report, the researchers collected data on five behaviors regarding their children: arrest and trouble with the police, behavior problems at school, suspension, and suicide attempts. The study found an association between homelessness and higher rates of problem behaviors, including arrests, academic problems, and suicide attempts. Overall, children who were homeless were 36 percent more likely to experience any kind of behavior problem compared with the general population. Since families with children who are dealing with homelessness often seek medical care at emergency departments and health clinics, the authors recommend further research to determine if enhanced identification and screening of homeless youth in clinical settings would reduce the occurrence of behavioral problems in this at-risk population.