Homeless Youth: A Case Study

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Results Homelessness among adolescents in California is a prevalent public health issue. Many of these youth are without a home because of a variety of reasons including altercations with their guardians, abuse, PTSD or a combination of these and other issues. Being homeless in of itself is a health concern but a majority of the youth on the streets also face additional health concerns. Some of these health concerns include substance abuse, high risk of HIV, and PTSD from trauma. Homeless adolescents in California face a variety of health concerns, identifying and being aware of these issues is a public health priority. Being homeless is a high-risk life style that puts people at a higher risk for many other health issues. A health concern…show more content…
According to a study done in San Diego, “[a]ttempted suicide, history of sexual and physical abuse, “survival sex”, sexual orientation, lack of social network, long periods of homelessness have been found to be associated with substance use in homeless adolescents” (Bousman et.al., 2005). These are some determinants that have been defined that put homeless youth at a higher risk for substance abuse. Another factor that puts youth at a high-risk is self-identifying as LGBQ. One study claimed, “LGBQ center reported significantly higher rates of recent binge drinking (five or more drinks at single setting), cigarette use, and having sex while intoxicated” (Shillington, Bousman, & Clapp, 2009). This could be due to exclusion from peers or other related issues. Peers additionally have a big influence on substance abuse among homeless youth. According to the San Diego study, “peer modeling of one of more deviant behaviors may generalize to drug use behaviors” (Bousman et.al., 2005). Basically when peers use drugs and normalize it, then the other youth are more likely to model this same behavior. Additionally to peers parental modeling has possibly the biggest impact on drug use among homeless youth. The term parental in homeless youth can refer to counselors, teachers, or drop-in center staff who are consistent in their lives (Bousman et.al., 2005). This…show more content…
This community of individuals face a disproportionately high prevalence of both trauma and PTSD. One study states that prior to being homeless or running away “approximately 75% of homeless youth report being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused by their families and note these issues are key reasons for running away” (Bender, Ferguson, Thompson, Komlo, & Pollio, 2010). This study states that after being homeless “85% of homeless youth report exposure to at least one form of victimization… which often compound previous trauma symptoms developed before leaving home” (Bender et.al., 2010). This previous abuse leaves the adolescents vulnerable and open to further victimization which can intensify traumatic experience. The adolescents that then fail to remove themselves from these toxic situations, or don’t seek treatment, are at an extremely high-risk for then developing PTSD (Bender et.al., 2010). Trauma is extremely common among homeless youth, but there are certain factors that can intensify and increase the chance of developing
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