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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Gender Differences in Traumatic Events and Rates of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Among Homeless Youth
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In the present report we describe patterns of traumatic events and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), both partial and full, among homeless youth and those at risk for homelessness, with an emphasis on gender differences. Participants were 85 homeless and at-risk youth (49% female) recruited from a drop-in center in New York City in 2000. Youth completed a structured interview lasting 1.5 h. Rates of childhood maltreatment were substantial. Further, almost all youth experienced at least one traumatic event, with most experiencing multiple types of trauma. Gender differences were found in the types, but not prevalence or magnitude, of childhood maltreatment and traumatic events experienced. Partial symptomatology of PTSD was common for females but not males. Symptoms of depression and anxiety were found to co-occur with PTSD for females, which may complicate treatment efforts. Further investigation of the impact of trauma on homeless males is needed. (Authors)
This study seeks to understand gender differences among homeless youth in relation to experiences of trauma and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and to compare rates with the non-homeless youth population. The authors found that the majority of youth in the study, which includes males and females, experienced at least one traumatic event and alarming patterns of multiple victimization in childhood and adolescence. Females were more likely to have experienced physical and sexual assaults, while males were more likely to report serious accidents as traumatic events. The authors attempt to understand the gender differences related to the development of PTSD.  They found that females were more likely to develop partial symptoms, reflected with the rate differences between males and females in the general population. Males were less likely to develop partial symptoms, and when symptoms existed, males attributed the symptoms to sexual assault rather than other forms of trauma. The article provides important insights about the gender-specific experiences of homeless youth.
Journal
2007
Journal of Adolescence
30
1
117-129
212-845-4499