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NCJ Number: 136441 Find in a Library
Title: Running Away During Adolescence as a Precursor of Adult Homelessness
Journal: Social Service Review  Volume:65  Issue:2  Dated:(June 1991)  Pages:224-247
Author(s): R L Simons; L B Whitbeck
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 24
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A sample of 84 runaway youth and a sample of 266 homeless adults in Des Moines, Iowa were interviewed to collect data in an effort to test the hypotheses that chronic runaways run a high risk of becoming homeless adults and that these individuals display higher rates of criminal behavior, substance abuse, and other deviant behavior than the homeless characterized by more culturally normative childhoods.
Abstract: The measures used for this study included chronic runaways, parental rejection and abuse, victimization, witnessed victimization, criminal activity, substance abuse, deviant peer group, chronic psychiatric problems, history of unstable employment, and incarceration. The results showed that recurrent runaways were especially likely to have experienced parental rejection or abuse and were running away from family problems rather than problems at school or trouble with the law. Once on the street, these youth were apt to be involved, within a deviant peer group, with criminal activity and drug use. As a consequence of this socialization pattern, chronic runaways might be expected to have a difficult time taking on conventional adult roles. According to these findings, about half the sample of homeless adults indicated they had run away from home during adolescence; about 20 percent had lived on their own for much of their youth. For this sample, there was a significant correlation between running away and criminal behavior and substance abuse for both males and females. Controlling for age and parental abuse, the amount of time spent on the streets during adolescence was associated with adult drug abuse for females and with substance abuse, victimization, and incarceration for males. Longitudinal research is needed to study what happens to chronic runaways as they grow up and the extent to which they comprise the nation's adult homeless population. 6 tables and 35 notes
Main Term(s): Homeless persons; Runaways
Index Term(s): Deviance; Iowa; Socialization
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