, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 291-299
Date: 26 Jul 2006

Youth Homelessness and Social Stigma

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Building upon previous exploratory qualitative research (Kidd SA (2003) Child Adol Social Work J 20(4):235–261), this paper examines the mental health implications of social stigma as it is experienced by homeless youth. Surveys conducted with 208 youths on the streets and in agencies in New York City and Toronto revealed significant associations between perceived stigma due to homeless status and sexual orientation, pan handling and sex trade involvement, and amount of time homeless. Higher perceived stigma was also related to low self esteem, loneliness, feeling trapped, and suicidal ideation, with guilt/self-blame due to homeless status having the strongest impact on mental health variables.

Sean Kidd is an assistant professor with the McMaster Department of Psychiary and Behavioural Neurociences. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Windsor, Ontario, in 2003. His primary research areas are suicide and resiliency among homeless youth and the application of qualitative methodologies in psychological research.