Original Paper

Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 81, Issue 4, pp 311-323

Factor Structure and Risk Factors for the Health Status of Homeless Veterans

  • Gerald GoldsteinAffiliated withMental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemUniversity of Pittsburgh Email author 
  • , James F. LutherAffiliated withMental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Gretchen L. HaasAffiliated withMental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Cathleen J. AppeltAffiliated withMental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemUniversity of Pittsburgh
  • , Adam J. GordonAffiliated withMental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare SystemUniversity of PittsburghCenter for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Veteran Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System

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Abstract

Homeless veterans have numerous health problems that have been previously characterized as falling into four major subgroups; addiction, psychosis, vascular disorders, and generalized medical and psychiatric illness. Comorbid conditions are common, often involving a combination of psychiatric and medical disorders. Using data from the same survey of homeless veterans that was used to establish these subgroups with cluster analysis, the present study examined the structure of these subgroup patterns through the use of factor analysis. This analysis yielded a five factor solution. They were named “Cardiac”, Mood, Stress, Addiction, and Psychosis factors. Factor scores were computed and an odds ratio analysis was accomplished to determine the association between obtaining a high score on a given factor with a number of sociodemographic and homelessness related variables. It was concluded that health status of homeless veterans is a complex condition, but has a clear latent structure demonstrated by factor analysis. Scoring high or low on a particular factor is associated with numerous historical and sociodemographic considerations, notably age, ethnicity, and employment status.

Keywords

Homeless Health status Comorbidity