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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 218153 Find in a Library
Title: Youth Homelessness and Social Stigma
Journal: Journal of Youth and Adolescence  Volume:36  Issue:3  Dated:April 2007  Pages:291-299
Author(s): Sean A. Kidd
Date Published: April 2007
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Building upon previous exploratory qualitative research, this paper examines the mental health implications of social stigma experienced by homeless youth.
Abstract: The study found that homeless youths' experience of stigma played a major role in their mental health status and level of suicide risk. These findings emphasize the importance of interventions that address social stigma as it is perceived and experienced by these youth, as well as how these perceptions affect their mental health in various domains. Treatment should focus on ways for homeless youth to replace internalized messages of guilt and shame with a more positive understanding of the various factors that underlie stigma for some groups, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons, youth involved in the sex trade, and how perceptions of stigma change over time as youth are exposed to ongoing discrimination. The youth who participated in the study (n=280) were drawn from agencies and the streets of New York City and Toronto, Canada. Street interviews were conducted in a range of locations where homeless youths congregated and/or panhandled. One hundred youths were interviewed in New York and 108 in Toronto. In order to be selected for the study, youth had to be 24 years old or younger and must have had no fixed address or were living in a shelter at the time of the survey. Demographic data addressed gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Information was also obtained on primary means of subsistence. A 12-item survey on social stigma experiences was developed from 7 adapted items derived from an inventory designed for persons with HIV and 5 items developed from previous qualitative work in which youth described their experiences of social stigma. Other variables measured were self-esteem, loneliness, feeling trapped, hopelessness, helplessness, and suicidal thoughts. 3 tables and 53 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Canada; Homeless children; Juvenile self concept; New York; Peer influences on behavior; Social conditions
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