Severity of homelessness and adverse birth outcomes

Health Psychol. 2000 Nov;19(6):524-34.


Predictors and the prevalence of adverse birth outcomes among 237 homeless women interviewed at 78 shelters and meal programs in Los Angeles in 1997 were assessed. It was hypothesized that they would report worse outcomes than national norms, that African Americans would report the worst outcomes because of their greater risk in the general population, and that homelessness severity would independently predict poorer outcomes beyond its association with other adverse conditions. Other predictors included reproductive history, behavioral and health-related variables, psychological trauma and distress, ethnicity, and income. African Americans and Hispanics reported worse outcomes than are found nationally, and African Americans reported the worst outcomes. In a predictive structural equation model, severity of homelessness significantly predicted low birth weight and preterm births beyond its relationship with prenatal care and other risk factors.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Homeless Persons* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Los Angeles / epidemiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk
  • Stress, Psychological*