Mental illness and substance use among sheltered homeless persons in lower-density population areas

J. P. Kales, M. A. Barone, Edward Bixler, M. M. Miljkovic, J. D. Kales

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16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse in homeless populations has been studied primarily in large urban areas. This study examines a sheltered homeless population in two counties of lower- density population, Dauphin and Cumberland counties in central Pennsylvania, to assess the prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse. Methods: A total of 81 homeless adults from nine emergency shelters were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Results: The estimated lifetime prevalence rate of major depressive disorder was 26.6 percent; 6.4 percent of the sample showed evidence of psychotic thinking. Almost one-third reported previous hospitalization for emotional problems, and about one-third reported a suicide attempt. The estimated lifetime prevalence rate of alcohol or drug abuse or dependence was almost 60 percent. Conclusions: Although mental illness, especially psychosis, and substance abuse may be somewhat less prevalent among homeless persons in lower-density population areas than in large urban areas, they are nevertheless significant problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)592-595
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatric Services
Volume46
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Kales, J. P., Barone, M. A., Bixler, E., Miljkovic, M. M., & Kales, J. D. (1995). Mental illness and substance use among sheltered homeless persons in lower-density population areas. Psychiatric Services, 46(6), 592-595.