Homelessness and sexual identity among middle school students
Introduction: Recent high school studies show that sexual minority youth have a higher annual incidence of homeless experiences than their heterosexual peers. However, it is unknown if middle school students experience the same homelessness prevalence. Methods: A supplemental survey to the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey containing questions regarding their past year homelessness experiences was administered to a random sample of Los Angeles Unified School District sixth to eighth grade students (N=1,186). Bivariate logistic regressions were conducted to assess the associations between identifying as a sexual minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning [LGBTQ]) with the likelihood of staying in a shelter, on the streets, or staying with strangers. Results: Overall, 23% of heterosexual and 29% of LGBTQ youth experienced at least one night of homelessness in the prior 12 months. LGBTQ youth were more likely to spend the night on the streets. LGBTQ youth were four times more likely to sleep on the streets (95% CI: 1.92, 8.39) and three times more likely to stay with a stranger (95% CI: 1.19, 7.30). There was no significant relationship between sexual identity and staying in a shelter. Discussions: School employees (teachers, staff, counselors, and principals) should discuss with any students who are at risk of homelessness about nearby services and shelters. Middle school students themselves should be made of aware of homelessness resources. Homeless service agency staff should work to reduce any real or perceived discrimination barriers and discuss these potential barriers with any young adolescents encountered during outreach.
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Assess for past year homelessness experiences among middle school Los Angeles public school students.
Compare homelessness experiences with students’ sexualities.
Keyword(s): Homelessness, Adolescents
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a second year PhD student at USC school of social work who has been working actively on an NIH funded grant designed to evaluate the risk behavior of runaway and homeless youth.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.