Homeless Adults Exposed to More Trauma

Nearly nine in ten homeless adults have been exposed to at least one early Trauma experience, and more than half of homeless adults have been exposed to four or more early traumatic experiences, a study published in Lancet said.

The study “Adverse childhood experiences and related outcomes among adults experiencing homelessness: a systematic review and meta-analysis” states that lifetime prevalence estimates of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in the homeless population might be substantially higher than in the global general population.


The Lancet report notes that ACEs among adults experiencing homelessness is associated with suicidality, past suicide attempt, depressive disorder, substance misuse and victimisation. It said that homeless people also face physical, mental and social burdens that largely contribute to poor health and functioning. The rates of mental health, infectious diseases, poorly controlled chronic diseases, unintentional injuries, substance use disorders are substantially higher among people experiencing homelessness. These along with other factors contribute to considerably higher mortality and morbidity among the homeless population than among the general population, the study stated.


Lancet quotes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Kaiser Permanente ACE Study showing that adults exposed to one ACE were 17 times more likely to have attempted suicide than adults exposed to zero ACEs. It also said that adults exposed to four ACEs were 3.9 times more likely, and adults exposed to seven or more ACES were 170 times more likely.


Lancet also refers to several other studies on the prevalence of ACES among the general population. It said that a meta-analysis of 19 studies that were published between 2006 and 2018 reported that the prevalence rates of one or more ACEs were 58-4 per cent in North America and 42-2 per cent in Europe.


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