A Latent Class Analysis of Lifetime Victimization Among Homeless Youth

Kimberly A. Tyler, Colleen M. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Homeless youth experience high rates of child physical and sexual abuse, and many are revictimized on the streets. Despite their high rates of victimization, few studies have examined whether specific victimization types (e.g., sexual vs. physical) cluster together and for whom (e.g., sexual minority youth). As such, the purpose of this study was to identify clusters of homeless youth based on their exposure to different forms of child abuse and street victimization, to examine what factors distinguish each cluster, and how unique clusters are related to youths’ mental health using data collected at two time points. The sample included 150 youth experiencing homelessness in the Midwest. Latent class analysis was used to identify clusters of youth. Three latent classes emerge: The low exposure class had significantly lower rates of child physical and emotional abuse and threats compared with the medium- and high-exposure groups. The high exposure group had significantly higher rates of child sexual abuse compared with the other groups. Females, sexual minority youth, and those who have lived in more foster care homes were more likely to be in the high exposure group compared with the low and/or medium exposure groups. Multivariate results revealed that those in the medium and high exposure cluster groups had higher rates of Wave 1 depressive symptoms and Wave 1 anxiety compared with youth in the low exposure cluster. Overall, although these young people experience high rates of abuse and victimization both at home and while on the street, there are gradations in these experiences such that certain victimization experiences subgroups are at heightened risk for poor mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • anxiety
  • child abuse
  • depression
  • homeless youth
  • sexual minorities
  • street victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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