Homeless youth and their exposure to and involvement in violence while living on the streets.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this research were to explore homeless youths' histories of exposure to violence, perpetration of violence, and fear of violent victimization, and to examine the extent to which these constructs are associated with demographic variables.
A sample of 432 youth (between 13 and 23 years old) who were homeless or at imminent risk for homelessness were sampled from both service and street sites. The percentage of youth who reported exposure to each type of violence was calculated. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine differences in the risk of exposure to violence across gender, ethnicity, age, and length of time homeless.
Respondents reported a high rate of exposure to violence. Female respondents reported levels of exposure to violence that were as high as those reported by males. Females were more likely to report having been sexually assaulted and fearing victimization, and tended to be less likely to report perpetrating violence. With a few exceptions, ethnic identity was not a significant predictor of exposure to violence or fear of victimization. Age tended to be inversely associated with risk of exposure to violence. Length of time homeless was not associated with fear of victimization.
Homeless youth are at high risk for exposure to a variety of forms violence as both witnesses and victims. The overall rates of exposure to violence and patterns of association with demographic variables are significantly higher than those reported in national samples of adolescents.
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ABSTRACT: Each year, thousands of female adolescents run away from home due to sexual abuse, yet they continue to be victims of sexual assault once on the street. To date, few studies have examined how various forms of victimization are related to different types of substance use. The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between street exposure, childhood abuse, and different forms of street victimization with alcohol and marijuana use among 137 homeless and runaway female adolescents. Results from path analysis revealed that child sexual abuse was positively linked to trading sex and sexual and physical victimization. In addition, those who have traded sex experienced greater physical victimization, and who have spent more time away from home, used alcohol more frequently. Moreover, trading sex and experiencing more types of sexual victimization were positively linked to more frequent marijuana usage. Age, age at first run, longest time away from home, sexual abuse, and trading sex had significant indirect effects on alcohol and/or marijuana use. Together, these factors accounted for 27% of the variance in alcohol use and 37% of the variance in marijuana use.Journal of Interpersonal Violence 08/2012; 28(3). DOI:10.1177/0886260512455517 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Literature on how street-involved youth (SIY) cope with risky environments remains very limited. This exploratory study investigates SIY's coping strategies, employing the ‘contexts of resilience’ framework (where resilience is understood as a process that changes over time and by environment) to situate an inductive thematic analysis of interviews with 10 current and former SIY. Three themes are explored: social distancing; experiences of violence; and self-harm and suicidality. The first two themes illustrate the double-edged nature of some coping strategies. While social distancing could contribute to isolation from social supports and violent self-defense to retaliatory harm, without alternative resources to prevent victimization these strategies must be acknowledged as reasoned responses to the risks associated with a violent milieu. Strategies assumed to be maladaptive among more normative youth may be among the limited resources available for SIY to utilize in attempts to make positive changes in their lives. The final theme explores self-harm and suicidality as indicative of social and structural needs and shows how in the SIY context such behaviors may not signify an outcome of non-resilience. The adaptation of assessments of coping strategies to be congruent with evaluative contexts should be applied to resilience research addressing other marginalized populations.Journal of Youth Studies 05/2012; 15(6):744-760. DOI:10.1080/13676261.2012.677814 · 1.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: This study explores the sexual risk trajectories of female youths and sheds light on the long-term effects of running away. It evaluates whether running away increases the risk of sexual assault in the following year, which is after runaways return home. The sample consists of 5,387 heterosexual females between the ages of 11 and 18 years from the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Nearly one quarter (23%) of runaways report a previous sexual assault in contrast to 5% of nonrunaways. In a logistic regression model, childhood neglect increases the risk of sexual assault between Waves 1 and 2 by nearly two times. Poor mental health is statistically significant. Alcohol use doubles the odds of sexual assault. The risk of sexual assault is approximately three-fold for girls with a history of sexual onset and sexual touching in a romantic relationship. Running away increases the risk by nearly two and a half times. There is evidence that alcohol use and sexual onset partially mediates the relationship between running away and sexual assault.Violence and Victims 12/2011; 26(6):816-29. DOI:10.1891/0886-6708.26.6.816 · 1.28 Impact Factor