[Alcohol dependence in homeless men. Incidence, development and determinants]

Nervenarzt. 1996 Nov;67(11):930-4. doi: 10.1007/s001150050074.
[Article in German]


Against the background of the complex relationship of alcoholism and homelessness, we investigated the question of whether homeless alcoholics and those with homes differed regarding biographical and clinical variables. Therefore, 49 of 72 (68.1%) homeless male visitors to a city kitchen in the center of Berlin, who had fulfilled the ICD-10 criteria for the alcohol-dependence syndrome, were compared with 141 outpatients of the addiction research unit of the Department of Psychiatry of the Free University of Berlin. It was found that homeless alcoholics had more psychosocial disadvantages than other alcoholics. They had been raised more frequently in families with an alcoholic father or mother and a higher number of children. The level of education and job qualification was lower in the homeless alcoholics. Early homelessness was predicted by a lack of sexual behavior (no partnership experienced) and a family history of alcoholism. In the interview, homeless alcoholics reported fewer symptoms of alcohol-dependence syndrome than other alcoholics; however, the first symptoms had been experienced earlier. Alcohol-related somatic and psychological consequences were reported more frequently in alcoholics with homes, whereas social problems were more common in the homeless subjects. The results are discussed in the light of methodological limitations and other reports on the topic.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Berlin / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Homeless Persons / psychology
  • Homeless Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*