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Personal control and service connection as paths to improved mental health and exiting homelessness among severely marginalized homeless youth
Year Published: 2017
Children and Youth Services Review
Issue: February 2017
Non-service connected, continuously homeless youth are arguably one of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S., and they experience an accumulation of risk over time. In this study, the authors tested the mediating effects of service connection and personal control on cumulative risk and housing, health, and mental health outcomes. By understanding the processes associated with therapeutic change among the most vulnerable youth, service providers and researchers can target those factors to enhance positive outcomes. A total of 79 non-service connected, substance-using homeless youth were offered a strengths-based outreach and engagement intervention and were assessed at baseline and 3, 6 and 9 months later. Results show that personal control mediated the effects of cumulative risk on housing stability, and service utilization mediated the effects of cumulative risk on mental health. Findings suggest potential targets for intervention with this population. Modified Author Abstract.