Social support networks and the mental health of runaway and homeless youth
To learn more about the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and GHPC, visit https://aysps.gsu.edu/ and https://ghpc.gsu.edu
In response to growing concerns about the rising number of runaway and homeless youth (RHY) in the U.S., researchers have sought to improve the scientiﬁc understanding of health and mental health needs, as well as the social resources available to these youths. In this paper, we examine the relationship between personal support network resources and the mental health status of a sample of RHY (N = 693) surveyed in metro-Atlanta, Georgia. The results suggest that having more supportive network ties reduces the risk of youth experiencing signiﬁcant symptoms of a severe mental illness. We also ﬁnd that older youth and youth who have been homeless for six months or longer have fewer personal support network resources. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our ﬁndings for future research and services for this exceptionally vulnerable population.