Mental Health and Emerging Adulthood among Homeless Young People
Psychology Press – 2009 – 314 pages
Psychology Press – 2009 – 314 pages
What happens to homeless and runaway adolescents when they become adults? This is the first study that follows homeless youth into young adulthood and reviews the mental health consequences of runaway episodes and street life. The adolescents were interviewed every three months for three years from their mid teens to their early twenties. The study documents the psychological consequences associated with becoming adults when missing the critical developmental tasks of adolescence. The authors report high levels of psychological problems associated with victimization prior to and after running away. These victimization experiences shape the behaviors of these young people, affecting their relationships with others and their chances of conventional adjustment. Across time, the more successful their adaptation to street life and the street economy, the more barriers to conventional adult life emerge.
The distress, including self-mutilation and suicidal behaviors, among this population is examined, as well as the impact street life has on future relationships, education, and employment. Nutritional and health problems are also explored, along with the social and economic impact of this population on society. As such, the book provides insight about why the current prevention and treatment programs are failing in an effort to help policy makers modify approaches to adolescent runaways.
Intended as a supplementary text for undergraduate and/or graduate courses on homelessness, high risk youth, social deviance, adolescence and/or emerging adulthood taught in departments of psychology, human development, sociology, social work, and public health, this compelling book will also appeal to anyone who works with homeless adolescents.
"Based on three monthly interviews over three years, the book expertly charts the psychological developments of its subjects and the experiences which shaped their behaviour. It shows, too, how their gradual habituation to street life creates a barrier to conventional adult life." – Young Minds Magazine
"One area lacking in the literature was the use of longitudinal studies with homeless youths. Whitbeck's book … fills this gap in the literature. … Whitbeck’s work is thorough and provides a clear picture of developmental and mental health issues among homeless teens. … I highly recommend this volume to those dedicated to working with homeless teens." – Stephanie L. Brooke in PsycCRITIQUES
"A ground-breaking longitudinal study… students would find it fascinating… it would be adopted in sociology, social work, and psychology courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. It would also be valuable to researchers, agency workers and policy experts… an important part of any scholar's knowledge on adolescence and emerging adulthood." – Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Clark University, USA
"The results are compelling, and, at times, very surprising…The data … underscores … the extent of mental health and substance abuse problems among homeless and runaway adolescents [and] the … long-term consequences… It is … likely to become a text for courses on the homeless…It should be of much interest to researchers … human service workers, mental health providers, law enforcement, juvenile justice personnel, policy makers and legislators." – Luis A. Vargas, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, UK
"The design of the study … is simply unique…I am deeply impressed with the breadth of coverage …This title may be used… at both the (upper) undergraduate and graduate level …in courses on sociology, social work, and psychology." – Luc Goossens, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium
Part 1. Emerging Adulthood among Runaway and Homeless Youth. 1. "No One Knows What Happens to These Kids": Interrupted Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood. 2. The Midwest Longitudinal Study of Homeless and Runaway Adolescents. Part 2. Mental Health and Emerging Adulthood among Homeless and Runaway Adolescents. 3. From Conduct Disorder to Antisocial Personality Disorder: Disruptive Behaviors from Adolescence to Early Adulthood. 4. Adolescent Major Depressive Episodes and Emerging Adulthood. 5. Traumatic Histories and Adult Transitions. 6. Substance Abuse Patterns Among Homeless and Runaway Adolescents Across Time. 7. Dissociative Symptoms: Prevalence, Correlates, and Association with Other Mental Disorders and Problem Behaviors. Part 3. Unintentional and Intentional Injuries from Adolescence to Early Adulthood. 8. Victimization and Re-victimization among Homeless and Runaway Adolescents. 9. Self-mutilating Behaviors from Adolescence to Young Adulthood. 10. Suicide Ideation and Attempts. 11. Health and Services Utilization. Part 4. Adult Roles: Social Networks, Intimate Relationships, Economic Adjustment, and Emerging Adulthood. 12. Social Networks: Friends and Families at Home and on the Streets. 13. Sexuality, Romantic Relationships, and Pregnancy. 14. Survival Strategies, Hunger, Education, and Housing. Part 5. Lost Opportunities – New Opportunities. 15. Continuities of Mental Disorders and Problem Behaviors. 16. "No One Knows What Happens to These Kids": From Runaways to Young Adults.
Les B. Whitbeck is the John G. Bruhn Professor of Sociology at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He has authored and co-authored more than 100 refereed journal articles. This is Dr. Whitbeck's second book on adolescent homelessness.