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health care, health-seeking behaviors, homeless, young adults



  1. Hudson, Angela L.
  2. Nyamathi, Adeline
  3. Greengold, Barbara
  4. Slagle, Alexandra
  5. Koniak-Griffin, Deborah
  6. Khalilifard, Farinaz
  7. Getzoff, Daniel


Background: Approximately 1.5 to 2 million homeless young persons live on the streets in the United States. With the current economic situation, research is needed on quality of services geared toward homeless young adults.


Objectives: The objective of this study was to explore homeless young adults' perspectives on barriers and facilitators of health-care-seeking behavior and their perspectives on improving existing programs for homeless persons.


Methods: This article is a descriptive qualitative study using focus groups, with a purposeful sample of 24 homeless drug-using young adults.


Results: Identified themes were failing access to care based on perceived structural barriers (limited clinic sites, limited hours of operation, priority health conditions, and long wait times) and social barriers (perception of discrimination by uncaring professionals, law enforcement, and society in general).


Discussion: Results provide insight into programmatic and agency resources that facilitate health-seeking behaviors among homeless young adults and include implications for more research with providers of homeless health and social services.