The Effect of Victimization, Mental Health, and Protective Factors on Crime and Illicit Drug Use Among Homeless Young Adults
Although research has found high rates of child maltreatment, widespread victimization, and other negative outcomes among homeless youth and young adults, resiliency among this population has largely been understudied. Specifically, a gap remains in terms of how protective factors such as self-efficacy, low deviant beliefs, and religiosity operate among homeless youth and young adults. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between various forms of victimization, mental health, and protective factors with property and violent crime and illicit drug use among homeless young adults. Results from regression analyses indicate that running away from home more frequently, experiencing more physical victimization on the street, higher levels of self-efficacy, and more deviant beliefs were associated with greater property crime. Significant correlates of violent crime included being male, running away from home more frequently, greater sexual and physical victimization on the street, higher levels of self-efficacy, and more deviant beliefs. Finally, being male, running away more frequently from home, greater child physical abuse and partner victimization, and more deviant beliefs were all associated with greater illicit drug use. Self-efficacy was positively related to both property and violent crime, suggesting that it may not operate for homeless young adults in the same manner as it does for normative populations.