Homelessness-Related Traumatic Events and PTSD Among Women Experiencing Episodes of Homelessness in Three U.S. Cities

Les B. Whitbeck, Brian E. Armenta, Kari C. Gentzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


In this article, we report the prevalence of traumatic events (TEs), lifetime and 12-month posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among 148 women experiencing homelessness in 3 midsized cities in the United States (Omaha, NE, Pittsburgh, PA, and Portland, OR). The women ranged in age from 19 to 54 years with an average age of 38.89 years (SD = 10.18). The sample was 42.6% White/European American. We investigated the mediation of distal TEs (i.e., childhood maltreatment) by more proximal TEs associated with being homeless (i.e., homelessness-related stressors) for meeting diagnostic criteria for 12-month PTSD. Results indicated that 42.6% of the women met criteria for lifetime PTSD and 39.7% met criteria for past-year PTSD. The number of TEs reported ranged from 0 to 16 in order of prevalence with a median of 6 TEs. The correlations between childhood maltreatment and 12-month PTSD ranged from .16 to .20 and the correlations between homelessness-related stressors and 12-month PTSD ranged from .21 to .30. The mediation analysis was consistent with the association between childhood maltreatment and past-year PTSD being fully mediated by homelessness-related trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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