Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 215–231 | Cite as

Life Experiences and Vulnerabilities of Homeless Women: A Comparison of Women Unaccompanied Versus Accompanied by Minor Children, and Correlates with Children's Emotional Distress

  • Timothy PageEmail author
  • Roger M. Nooe


The histories and service needs of 2 groups of homeless women, those unaccompanied by minor children (n = 46) and those accompanied by minor children (n = 22), were compared, on the basis of their responses to a biennial survey of homeless people in a midsize city in the southeast United States. Mothers of children aged 2–10 also completed a measure of stress symptoms for their children (n = 20). Irrespective of family status group, problems such as substance abuse, history of mental illness, health problems, chronicity of homelessness, and crime victimization tended to cluster together. The findings also suggest that declining and/or inadequate levels of public benefits, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and Medicaid-funded health care in particular, have adversely affected the 2 groups, particularly families with children. The young children in this sample experienced elevated levels of stress, and significant associations were found between children's stress levels and certain risk factors of their mothers. Implications for service delivery are discussed.

homeless women homeless children 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkLouisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge
  2. 2.College of Social WorkUniversity of Tennessee at KnoxvilleKnoxville

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