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Soc. Sci. 2017, 6(4), 117; doi:10.3390/socsci6040117

Social Support Networks and the Mental Health of Runaway and Homeless Youth

1
Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 5020, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA
2
Georgia Health Policy Center, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 3992, Atlanta, GA 30302, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 July 2017 / Revised: 23 September 2017 / Accepted: 26 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Mental Health)
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Abstract

In response to growing concerns about the rising number of runaway and homeless youth (RHY) in the U.S., researchers have sought to improve the scientific understanding of health and mental health needs, as well as the social resources available to these youths. In this paper, we examine the relationship between personal support network resources and the mental health status of a sample of RHY (N = 693) surveyed in metro-Atlanta, Georgia. The results suggest that having more supportive network ties reduces the risk of youth experiencing significant symptoms of a severe mental illness. We also find that older youth and youth who have been homeless for six months or longer have fewer personal support network resources. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for future research and services for this exceptionally vulnerable population. View Full-Text
Keywords: runaway and homeless youth; homelessness; personal networks; social support; mental health; severe mental illness runaway and homeless youth; homelessness; personal networks; social support; mental health; severe mental illness
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Wright, E.R.; Attell, B.K.; Ruel, E. Social Support Networks and the Mental Health of Runaway and Homeless Youth. Soc. Sci. 2017, 6, 117.

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