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Preview: Psychological Services - Vol 6, Iss 4

Psychological Services - Vol 14, Iss 2



Psychological Services is an American Psychological Association Division publication. The official publication of the Division of Psychologists in Public Service (Division 18), Psychological Services publishes high-quality data-based articles on the broad



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Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
 



Homelessness as a public mental health and social problem: New knowledge and solutions.

2017-05-08

Homelessness is a major public health problem that has received considerable attention from clinicians, researchers, administrators, and policymakers in recent years. In 2016, 550,000 individuals were homeless in the United States (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2016) with 4.2% of individuals in the United States experiencing homelessness for over 1 month sometime in their lives and 1.5% experiencing homelessness in the last year (Tsai, 2017). Homelessness remains a recalcitrant problem and a ripe area for study, particularly in addressing needs of individuals at high risk for homelessness and those from understudied populations. New and innovative measurement approaches, interventions, and study methodologies are presented in this special issue to shed light on how psychology can help benefit and improve homeless services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Housing first on a large scale: Fidelity strengths and challenges in the VA’s HUD-VASH program.

2017-05-08

Housing First (HF) combines permanent supportive housing and supportive services for homeless individuals and removes traditional treatment-related preconditions for housing entry. There has been little research describing strengths and shortfalls of HF implementation outside of research demonstration projects. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has transitioned to an HF approach in a supportive housing program serving over 85,000 persons. This offers a naturalistic window to study fidelity when HF is adopted on a large scale. We operationalized HF into 20 criteria grouped into 5 domains. We assessed 8 VA medical centers twice (1 year apart), scoring each criterion using a scale ranging from 1 (low fidelity) to 4 (high fidelity). There were 2 HF domains (no preconditions and rapidly offering permanent housing) for which high fidelity was readily attained. There was uneven progress in prioritizing the most vulnerable clients for housing support. Two HF domains (sufficient supportive services and a modern recovery philosophy) had considerably lower fidelity. Interviews suggested that operational issues such as shortfalls in staffing and training likely hindered performance in these 2 domains. In this ambitious national HF program, the largest to date, we found substantial fidelity in focusing on permanent housing and removal of preconditions to housing entry. Areas of concern included the adequacy of supportive services and adequacy in deployment of a modern recovery philosophy. Under real-world conditions, large-scale implementation of HF is likely to require significant additional investment in client service supports to assure that results are concordant with those found in research studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Predictors of homeless services re-entry within a sample of adults receiving Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) assistance.

2017-05-08

Local and national evaluations of the federal Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) have demonstrated a high rate of placement of program participants in permanent housing. However, there is a paucity of research on the long-term outcomes of HPRP, and research on rehousing and prevention interventions for single adults experiencing homelessness is particularly limited. Using Homeless Management Information System data from 2009 to 2015, this study examined risk of return to homeless services among 370 permanently housed and 71 nonpermanently housed single adult HPRP participants in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were conducted to analyze time-to-service re-entry for the full sample, and the homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing participants separately. With an average follow-up of 4.5 years after HPRP exit, 9.5% of the permanently housed HPRP participants and 16.9% of those nonpermanently housed returned to homeless services. By assistance type, 5.4% of permanently housed and 15.8% of nonpermanently housed homelessness prevention recipients re-entered services, and 12.8% of permanently housed and 18.2% of nonpermanently housed rapid rehousing recipients re-entered during the follow-up period. Overall, veterans, individuals receiving rapid rehousing services, and those whose income did not increase during HPRP had significantly greater risk of returning to homeless services. Veterans were at significantly greater risk of re-entry when prevention and rehousing were examined separately. Findings suggest a need for future controlled studies of prevention and rehousing interventions for single adults, aiming to identify unique service needs among veterans and those currently experiencing homelessness in need of rehousing to inform program refinement. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



A longitudinal analysis of peer-delivered permanent supportive housing: Impact of housing on mental and overall health in an ethnically diverse population.

2017-05-08

Permanent supportive housing (PSH) is an evidence-based health intervention for persons experiencing homelessness, but the impact of individual mechanisms within this intervention on health requires further research. This study examines the longitudinal impact of the mechanism of supportive housing within a peer-delivered PSH model on overall health and mental health (as measured by psychological distress and self-report of bothersome symptoms) outcomes in an ethnically diverse population. The 237 participants in the study included persons who were homeless or at risk of homelessness and who also had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Sixty-one percent of all participants received supportive housing. All 3 outcomes were significantly associated with quality of life indicators, recovery, and social connectedness. In addition, overall health was significantly associated with employment, age, and psychological distress. Psychological distress was associated with gender, type of housing, and history of violence or trauma. Experiencing bothersome symptoms was associated with drug use, history of violence or trauma, and psychological distress. Longitudinal models of these 3 outcomes showed that supportive housing was significantly associated with good to excellent health 6 months after baseline (odds ratio = 3.11, 95% confidence interval [1.12, 8.66]). The models also demonstrated that the supportive housing and comparison groups experienced decreased psychological distress after baseline. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of supportive housing within the context of PSH, particularly for the overall health of participants, and the positive overall impact of PSH on mental health in a diverse population. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



“They’re homeless in a home”: Retaining homeless-experienced consumers in supported housing.

2017-05-08

Permanent, community-based housing with supportive services (“supported housing”) has numerous favorable outcomes for homeless-experienced consumers. Little is known, however, about consumers who attain but subsequently lose their supported housing. Using mixed methods, we compared persons who retained their supported housing for at least 1 year (“stayers”) with those who lost their supported housing within 1 year of move-in (“exiters”). Among persons housed through the VA Supported Housing (VASH) program at the VA Greater Los Angeles between 2011 and 2012, we queried VA homeless registry data to identify stayers (n = 1,558) and exiters (n = 85). We reviewed the medical records of 85 randomly selected stayers and all 85 exiters to compare demographics, homelessness chronicity, era of service, income, presence or absence of a serious mental illness, and health service utilization. From this subsample, we purposively selected 20 stayers and 20 exiters for semistructured, qualitative interviews, and more detailed medical record review. We also performed qualitative interviews and focus groups with VASH staff/leadership (n = 15). Recursive partitioning identified quantitative variables that best-differentiated stayers from exiters. Thematic analyses were performed on qualitative data. Interrelated factors were associated with exiting supported housing: chronic homelessness; low intrinsic motivation; unmet needs for mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and independent living skills; poor primary care engagement; frequent emergency department use; and recent mental health hospitalizations. These findings suggest the value of clinical interventions that address these factors—for example, motivational interviewing or social skills training—adapted to the setting and context of supported housing. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



No wrong door: Can clinical care facilitate veteran engagement in housing services?

2017-05-08

It is well established that providing stable housing to homeless persons improves health outcomes. It is less clear whether engagement in clinical care facilitates housing outcomes. We present a post hoc analysis of a prospective, community-based randomized controlled trial of homeless veterans not actively receiving or assigned to a primary care. Study subjects were interviewed at baseline, 1 month and 6 months and survey results were supplemented/verified by review of all notes in their VA electronic medical record for 6 months postenrollment. A total of 142 subjects with complete data were included in this analysis: 82 (57.7%) were in a stable sheltering/housing arrangement (transitional housing, stably doubled-up, independent housing) at baseline and stayed stable; 36 (25.4%) started in an unstable sheltering arrangement (unsheltered, emergency sheltered, unstable doubled-up arrangement) and moved into stable sheltering/housing while 24 (17.0%) individuals either started in and stayed unstably sheltered or went from a stable to an unstable arrangement. Of 36 individuals who transitioned from unstable to stable sheltering/housing, 25 (69.4%) accessed primary care within 1 month compared with 37.5% of the persistently unstable sheltering group and 57.3% of the stably sheltered/housed group (p = .05). Of those with care within 1 month, their average time from unstable to stable housing was 84.8 days compared with 165.9 days for those who do not access care (p = .02). Of those receiving primary care within 1 month of enrollment, 88.9% were in stable sheltering at 6 months. These findings suggest an important role for clinical engagement in helping achieve housing stability for homeless veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



A national evaluation of homeless and nonhomeless veterans’ experiences with primary care.

2017-05-08

Persons who are homeless, particularly those with mental health and/or substance use disorders (MHSUDs), often do not access or receive continuous primary care services. In addition, negative experiences with primary care might contribute to homeless persons’ avoidance and early termination of MHSUD treatment. The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model aims to address care fragmentation and improve patient experiences. How homeless persons with MHSUDs experience care within PCMHs is unknown. This study compared the primary care experiences of homeless and nonhomeless veterans with MHSUDs receiving care in the Veterans Health Administration’s medical home environment, called Patient Aligned Care Teams. The sample included VHA outpatients who responded to the national 2013 PCMH-Survey of Health Care Experiences of Patients (PCMH-SHEP) and had a past-year MSHUD diagnosis. Veterans with evidence of homelessness (henceforth “homeless”) were identified through VHA administrative records. PCMH-SHEP survey respondents included 67,666 veterans with MHSUDs (9.2% homeless). Compared with their nonhomeless counterparts, homeless veterans were younger, more likely to be non-Hispanic Black and nonmarried, had less education, and were more likely to live in urban areas. Homeless veterans had elevated rates of most MHSUDs assessed, indicating significant co-occurrence. After controlling for these differences, homeless veterans reported more negative and fewer positive experiences with communication; more negative provider ratings; and more negative experiences with comprehensiveness, care coordination, medication decision-making, and self-management support than nonhomeless veterans. Homeless persons with MHSUDs may need specific services that mitigate negative care experiences and encourage their continuation in longitudinal primary care services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Comprehensive services delivery and emergency department use among chronically homeless adults.

2017-05-08

Homeless adults use emergency department (ED) services more frequently than other adults, but the relationships between homelessness, health status, outpatient service use, and ED utilization are poorly understood. Data from the Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness (CICH) were used to compare ED use among chronically homeless adults receiving comprehensive housing, case management, mental health, addiction, and primary care services through CICH at 5 U.S. sites (n = 274) and ED use among comparison group clients receiving generally available community services (n = 116) at the same sites. Multiple imputation was used to account for missing data and differential rates of attrition between the cohorts. Longitudinal models were constructed to compare ED use between the 2 groups during the first year after initiation of CICH services. A mediation analysis was performed to determine the relative contributions of being housed, the receipt of outpatient services, and health status to group differences in ED utilization. Participants receiving CICH services were significantly less likely to report ED use (odds ratio = 0.78, 95% confidence interval [0.65, 0.93]) in the year after program entry. Decreased ED use was primarily mediated by decreased homelessness—not by increased access to other services or health status. This suggests that becoming housed is a key driver of reduced ED utilization and that efforts to provide housing for homeless adults may result in significantly decreased ED use. Further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of housing on health status and to develop services to improve health outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Cost of health care utilization among homeless frequent emergency department users.

2017-05-08

Research demonstrates that homelessness is associated with frequent use of emergency department (ED) services, yet prior studies have not adequately examined the relationship between frequent ED use and utilization of non-ED health care services among those experiencing homelessness. There has also been little effort to assess heterogeneity among homeless individuals who make frequent use of ED services. To address these gaps, the present study used Medicaid claims data from 2010 to estimate the association between the number of ED visits and non-ED health care costs for a cohort of 6,338 Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program patients, and to identify distinct subgroups of persons in this cohort who made frequent use of ED services based on their clinical and demographic characteristics. A series of gamma regression models found more frequent ED use to be associated with higher non-ED costs, even after adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics. Latent class analysis was used to examine heterogeneity among frequent ED users, and the results identified 6 characteristically distinct subgroups among these persons. The subgroup of persons with trimorbid illness had non-ED costs that far exceeded members of all 5 other subgroups. Study findings reinforce the connection between frequent ED use and high health care costs among homeless individuals and suggest that different groups of homeless frequent ED users may benefit from interventions that vary in terms of their composition and intensity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



One-year incidence and predictors of homelessness among 300,000 U.S. Veterans seen in specialty mental health care.

2017-05-08

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to preventing and ending homelessness among U.S. veterans, but there have been few estimates of the incidence of veteran homelessness and prospective studies to identify predictors of homelessness. This study examines the 1-year incidence of homelessness among veterans seen in VA specialty mental health clinics and identified sociodemographic and clinical predictors of homelessness. Using a retrospective cohort study design, data were extracted from the VA medical records of 306,351 veterans referred to anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder clinics across 130 VA facilities from 2008–2012 and followed for 1 year after referral. Homeless incidence was defined as new use of any VA homeless services or a documented International Classification of Diseases (9th rev.) V60.0 (lack of housing) code during the year. Of the total sample, 5.6% (7.8% for women and 5.4% for men) experienced homelessness within 1 year after referral to VA specialty mental health care. Veterans who were unmarried or diagnosed with a drug use disorder were more than twice as likely to become homeless; those who were Black or had annual incomes less than $25,000 were more than one and a half times as likely to become homeless. Together, these findings suggest a notable and important percentage of veterans seen in VA specialty mental health clinics newly experience homelessness annually. Monitoring early signs of housing vulnerability and preventing homelessness in this vulnerable but treatment-engaged population may be important in the VA’s efforts to end veteran homelessness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Characteristics and service utilization of homeless veterans entering VA substance use treatment.

2017-05-08

This article compares characteristics and health care utilization patterns of homeless veterans entering substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Baseline self-report and medical record data were collected from 181 homeless veterans participating in a randomized trial of SUD/housing case management. Veterans, categorized as newly (n = 45), episodically (n = 61), or chronically homeless (n = 75), were compared on clinical characteristics and health care utilization in the year prior to baseline. Between-groups differences were seen in stimulant use, bipolar, and depressive disorders. A significant majority accessed VA emergency department services, and nearly half accessed inpatient services, with more utilization among chronically versus newly homeless. A majority in all groups attended VA primary care (73.5%) and mental health (56.9%) visits, and 26.7% newly, 32.8% episodically, and 56.0% chronically homeless veterans initiated multiple SUD treatment episodes (p = .002). A significant proportion of veterans struggling with homelessness and SUDs appear to remain unstable despite high utilization of VA acute and preventative services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Engagement in steps of advance health care planning by homeless veterans.

2017-05-08

Communicating health care preferences in advance, so that wishes can be honored if the person becomes unable to participate in decision-making, is especially important for vulnerable populations such as homeless veterans. Hospitals are required to inform patients of their rights to document their preferences, but completion rates for advance directives are low. Conceptualizing advance health care planning as a series of health behavior steps emphasizing communication is recommended for improving engagement in advance health care planning. The authors used program evaluation data from psychoeducational groups with 288 homeless veterans to learn about their previous experience with different steps of advance health care planning and their personal goals for future steps. Results revealed a significant discrepancy between what these veterans reported they have done and information available to health care providers in the medical record: Only 26% had an advance directive in the medical record, but 70% reported they had thought about the care they would want, and almost half reported they had talked with a trusted other or named someone to make decisions for them. The most frequent goal endorsed by veterans attending groups was discussing advance health care planning with family or trusted others and/or naming someone to be a decision maker. These findings indicate a need for improved communication and documentation of veteran preferences about emergency and end of life care. Results are also consistent with interventions tailored to varying readiness for different steps of advance health care planning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy among homeless veterans.

2017-05-08

Homeless patients have high rates of visual impairment and lower rates of glycemic control than housed patients. Although diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common cause of new visual impairment and legal blindness in the developed world, little is known about differential risk factors for and rates of DR in homeless versus housed populations. This study aimed to compare the rates of DR between homeless and housed patients with diabetes at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Health care System (GLA) and identify clinical and psychosocial predictors of DR rates. We performed secondary database analyses of veterans with diabetes who received care at GLA between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2015. We described differences in demographic, clinical, and psychosocial characteristics associated with DR in homeless versus housed patients, and created a logistic regression model to identify independent predictors of DR. We found that diabetic veterans who were homeless, as compared with those who were housed, had higher rates of substance use disorders and mental health diagnoses, more primary care and mental health visits, and were more likely to have had diabetic retinopathy eye screening according to guidelines. Multiple logistic regression modeling predicting having DR, revealed that having DR was independently associated with not being homeless (i.e., being housed), older age, having had retinal screening, anemia, higher systolic blood pressure, insulin use, microalbuminuria, and higher HbA1c. Homeless diabetic veterans’ lower rates of DR may be due to the GLA VA’s tailored and intensive psychological and medical resources for homeless veteran patients. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Pathways into homelessness among post-9/11-era veterans.

2017-05-08

Despite the scale of veteran homelessness and government–community initiatives to end homelessness among veterans, few studies have featured individual veteran accounts of experiencing homelessness. Here we track veterans’ trajectories from military service to homelessness through qualitative, semistructured interviews with 17 post-9/11-era veterans. Our objective was to examine how veterans become homeless—including the role of military and postmilitary experiences—and how they negotiate and attempt to resolve episodes of homelessness. We identify and report results in 5 key thematic areas: transitioning from military service to civilian life, relationships and employment, mental and behavioral health, lifetime poverty and adverse events, and use of veteran-specific services. We found that veterans predominantly see their homelessness as rooted in nonmilitary, situational factors such as unemployment and the breakup of relationships, despite very tangible ties between homelessness and combat sequelae that manifest themselves in clinical diagnoses such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, although assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and community-based organizations offer a powerful means for getting veterans rehoused, veterans also recount numerous difficulties in accessing and obtaining VA services and assistance. Based on this, we offer specific recommendations for more systematic and efficient measures to help engage veterans with VA services that can prevent or attenuate their homelessness. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Exploring the potential of technology-based mental health services for homeless youth: A qualitative study.

2017-05-08

Homelessness has serious consequences for youth that heighten the need for mental health services; however, these individuals face significant barriers to access. New models of intervention delivery are required to improve the dissemination of mental health interventions that tailor these services to the unique challenges faced by homeless youth. The purpose of this study was to better understand homeless youths’ use of technology, mental health experiences and needs, and willingness to engage with technology-supported mental health interventions to help guide the development of future youth-facing technology-supported interventions. Five focus groups were conducted with 24 homeless youth (62.5% female) in an urban shelter. Youth were 18- to 20-years-old with current periods of homelessness ranging from 6 days to 4 years. Transcripts of these focus groups were coded to identify themes. Homeless youth reported using mobile phones frequently for communication, music, and social media. They indicated a lack of trust and a history of poor relationships with mental health providers despite recognizing the need for general support as well as help for specific mental health problems. Although initial feelings toward technology that share information with a provider were mixed, they reported an acceptance of tracking and sharing information under certain circumstances. Based on these results, we provide recommendations for the development of mental health interventions for this population focusing on technology-based treatment options. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Intimate partner violence, unhealthy alcohol use, and housing instability among women veterans in the Veterans Health Administration.

2017-05-08

Women U.S. military veterans face particularly high rates of homelessness, which may be associated with psychosocial experiences including unhealthy alcohol use and experience of intimate partner violence (IPV). In this study, we examined clinical social health screening data to assess the association between housing instability and (a) experience of past-year IPV victimization, and (b) unhealthy alcohol use among 554 women receiving primary care from the Veterans Health Administration. Approximately 12% of patients screened reported housing instability. Experience of past-year IPV was associated with increased risk of housing instability (OR = 2.10, 95% CI [1.16, 3.81]), with 1 in 5 women screening positive for IPV also reporting housing concern. There was no statistically significant association between current unhealthy alcohol use and housing instability. Findings hold implications for addressing potential housing concerns among women VA patients. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Examining the bidirectional association between veteran homelessness and incarceration within the context of permanent supportive housing.

2017-05-08

Homelessness and incarceration share a bidirectional association: individuals experiencing homelessness are more likely to be incarcerated and former inmates are more likely to become homeless. Permanent supportive housing (PSH) programs have demonstrated positive outcomes for participants with criminal histories, yet participants continue to exit to jail or prison and experience subsequent homelessness. Using data on Veterans participating in a PSH program at 4 locations between 2011 and 2014 (N = 1,060), logistic regression was used to examine the risk factors for exiting PSH because of incarceration and returning to homelessness. Though exiting because of incarceration was uncommon, Veterans with a drug use disorder who decreased the frequency of related care over time had an increased risk for this outcome, and a history of incarceration increased Veterans’ risk of experiencing ongoing homelessness. Findings can inform housing and reentry interventions which should account for participant risk factors and service needs in an effort to end the cycle of homelessness and incarceration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)



Perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among men experiencing homelessness.

2017-05-08

This study explored the perceptions of fatherhood held by 11 men living in a homeless shelter. Using consensual qualitative research methodology (CQR; Hill, 2012), we investigated perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood among fathers experiencing homelessness. Participants described (a) their perceptions of masculinity and fatherhood and changes resulting from homelessness, (b) physical and psychological challenges of being a father experiencing homelessness, and (c) expectations of homeless fathers. The fathers generally expressed feelings of low self-esteem related to their perceived difficulty fulfilling the role of providers for their family; however, they also adapted their view of fatherhood to include roles suited to their situation, such as that of guide, teacher, and role model. Suggestions are made for clinicians in helping fathers navigate and develop these roles, and limitations and directions for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)