A systematic review of the effect of stigma on the health of people experiencing homelessness

Health Soc Care Community. 2022 Nov;30(6):2128-2141. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13884. Epub 2022 Jun 28.


Experiencing homelessness is associated with poor health, high levels of chronic disease and high premature mortality. Experiencing homelessness is known to be socially stigmatised and stigma has been suggested as a cause of health inequalities. No previous review has synthesised the evidence about stigma related to homelessness and the impact on the health of people experiencing homelessness. The present mixed-methods review systematically searched four databases and retrieved 21 original articles with relevant data around stigma, homelessness and health. Across all studies, there was broad agreement that some people experiencing homelessness experience significant stigma from providers when accessing health care and this impacts on general health and service access. There is also evidence that perceived stigma related to homelessness correlates with poorer mental and physical health.

Keywords: Stigma; discrimination; homelessness; mental health; physical health; roofless; rough sleeping.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons*
  • Mortality, Premature
  • Social Problems
  • Social Stigma