ERIC Number: ED269712
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: 0
An Examination of Physical and Mental Health Problems of the Homeless.
Solarz, Andrea; Mowbray, Carol
Homelessness is a significant social problem in the United States and it has been estimated that there may be as many as 2.5 million homeless people in this country today. For these people, poverty, substance abuse, and harsh living conditions may further contribute to the development of physical and mental health problems. A study was conducted to evaluate the mental and physical health needs of the homeless, with future goals of using the results in policy development by state agencies. Residents (N=75) of four temporary shelters in a large urban area were given a non-intrusive physical exam by a nurse. Nurses also gathered information on health-related behaviors, self-reported problems, and psychiatric hospitalization history. A social worker administered a self-report psychological symptom scale and gathered background and demographic information. The results indicated that the homeless, while a very heterogeneous population, suffered from significant health problems which were compounded by a limited access to adequate and affordable health care. Many reported significant histories of psychiatric problems or current psychological distress. Mental and physical health problems may be exacerbated by alcohol or drug dependencies, environmental stresses, and victimization by criminals. These findings suggest the prevalence of a wide range of health problems among this homeless group. It is likely that the hard-core homeless, who live on the street and do not use shelters, experience even more extensive health problems. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association (113th, Washington, DC, November 17-21, 1985). For related documents, see CG 019 100-101.