Substance use predictors of victimization profiles among homeless youth: A latent class analysis

Although a substantial body of literature demonstrates high prevalence of street victimization among homeless youth, few studies have investigated the existence of victimization classes that differ on the type and frequency of victimization experienced. Nor do we know how substance use patterns relate to victimization classes. Using latent class analysis (LCA), we examined the existence of victimization classes of homeless youth and investigated substance use predictors of class membership utilizing a large purposive sample (N = 601) recruited from homeless youth-serving host agencies in three disparate regions of the U.S. Results of the LCA suggest the presence of three distinct victimization profiles – youth fit into a low-victimization class, a witness class, or a high-victimization class. These three victimization classes demonstrated differences in their substance use, including rates of substance abuse/dependence on alcohol and/or drugs. The presence of distinct victimization profiles suggests the need for screening and referral for differential services.

Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
Journal of Adolescence