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National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Emotional Health Among Youth Experiencing Family Homelessness

Barnes, A.J., Gilberston, J., Chatterjee, D.
Type new
Journal Article
Year published new
Journal Name


Volume new

This journal article presents a study comparing the risk of suicidality and factors that may protect against it between youth who are homeless with adult family members and non-homeless youth. The researchers used cross-sectional data, representing 62,034 eighth- to 12th-graders, to estimate the emotional distress, self-injury, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicide in the past 12 months for youth who experienced family homelessness compared with housed youth. Overall, 4% of youth in the sample were homeless with an adult family member. Among these youth, 29.1% reported self-injury, 21% reported suicidal ideation, and 9.3% reported suicide attempts. The study found that developmental assets decreased the odds of these outcomes for all youth but were less protective for homeless youth. These findings indicate youth experiencing recent family homelessness are at higher risk of suicidality than their non-homeless peers, suggesting homelessness is itself a marker of risk. The researchers discuss the need for interventions among homeless youth to address social determinants of health such as stable housing and adversity in addition to developmental assets. (author abstract modified)

Accession number
Electronically published journal article, but not part of an issue