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Article   |    
Characteristics of Veterans and Nonveterans in Three Samples of Homeless Men
Robert Rosenheck; Paul Koegel
Psychiatric Services 1993; doi:
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The authors thank Linda Fnisman, Ph. D., Catherine A. Leda, M. S. N., M. P. H., and Eric Lindblom, J. D., for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

Northeast Program Evaluation Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 950 Campbell Avenue, West Haven, Connecticut 06516; Yale University in New Haven

Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California

1993 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Objective: To uncover possible explanations for the large numbers of veterans in the homeless population, the study sought to identify differences in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics between homeless male veterans and other homeless men. Methods: A secondary analysis of data from three surveys of homeless Americans conducted during the mid 1980s was used to compare homeless veterans and homeless nonveterans. Results: Compared with nonveterans, homeless veterans were older, more likely to be white, better educated, and more likely to be previously or currently married. Generally, veterans did not difference from nonveterans on any indicator of residential instability, current social functioning, physical health, mental illness, or substance abuse. Examination of national data comparing domiciled veterans and nonveterans in the general population showed that observed sociodemographic differences between homeless veterans and nonveterans were largely explained by differences between these groups in the general population. Conclusions: Although homeless veterans bad higher educational levels and were more likely to have been married in the past than homeless nonveterans, these advantages did not appear to protect them from homelessness. Veterans appear to be at risk for homelessness for much the same reasons as other American men.

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