Children in Homeless Families: Risks to Mental Health and Development

Ann S Masten, Donna Miliotis, Sandra A. Graham-Bermann, Mary Louise Ramirez, Jennifer Neemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

176 Scopus citations


This study examined the psychological adjustment of 159 homeless children in comparison with a sample of 62 low-income children living at home. In each group, ages ranged from 8 to 17 years. As expected, homeless children were found to have greater recent stress exposure than housed poor children, as well as more disrupted schooling and friendships. Child behavior problems were above normative levels for homeless children, particularly for antisocial behavior. Across the 2 samples, however, behavior problems were more related to parental distress, cumulative risk status, and recent adversity than to housing status or income. Results suggest that homeless children share many of the risks and problems of other American children being reared in poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-343
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1993


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