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Health, hidden homelessness, and gender : a multivariate analysis Ferguson, Max


Research topic: My analyses were designed to evaluate the burden of physical and mental illness associated with different shelter strategies among homeless youth. I investigated the health outcomes of hidden homelessness versus other shelter strategies in youth across different genders – including male youth, female youth, and trans & gender diverse youth. Research questions: What is the association between using hidden homelessness shelter strategies and health outcomes among homeless and street involved youth living in British Columbia? Is there a difference in the relationship between hidden homelessness and health outcomes for people of different genders, and, if so, what is the nature of this relation? Participants: This cross-sectional descriptive study uses the British Columbia Homeless and Street Involved Youth Survey (HSIY). Data were collected by the McCreary Centre Society. The total sample is comprised of 681 homeless or street involved youth from 13 communities across British Columbia. Participants ranged in age from 12 to 19. Methods: I conducted a series of logistic regression models to determine the statistical effect size of the relation of hidden homelessness and health on youth. The outcome health variables included poor or fair self-rated general health, poor or fair self-rated mental health, having at least one mental health condition, having foregone mental health care, having foregone medical health care, having experienced an injury serious enough to require medical attention in the past year, experiencing extreme levels of stress, experiencing extreme levels of despair, self-harming in the last year, having considered suicide in the last year, and having attempted suicide in the last year. I investigated whether the effect size differed for youth of different genders. Results: Youth who have used hidden homelessness shelter strategies reported significantly worse health outcomes except for experiences of extreme despair. Compared to male youth, female youth were more likely to experience foregone medical care and have experienced an injury serious enough to require medical attention. Trans & gender diverse youth had worse health outcomes associated with hidden homelessness in descriptive analyses, although the sample was insufficient to include in the models with interaction terms.

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