Comparability and Representativeness of Clinical Homeless, Community Homeless, and Domiciled Clinic Samples

Physical and Mental Health, Substance Use, and Health Services Utilization

Published in: Health Psychology, v. 16, no. 2, Mar. 1997, p. 155-162

Posted on on March 01, 1997

by Judith Stein, Lillian Gelberg

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Evaluating the representativeness of homeless samples is important for generalizing research findings on the homeless and designing interventions targeting their health needs. The present study contrasts homeless and domiciled free-clinic users (216 homeless [132 men, 84 women], 212 domiciled [102 men, 110 women]) and 531 community homeless persons (388 men, 143 women) on latent variables representing substance use, mental and physical health, appearance, life satisfaction, and health services utilization (HSU). Homeless clinic patients equalled the community sample in substance abuse and psychological problems but exceeded the sample in HSU and cleanliness. Homeless clinic users reported more substance abuse, poorer health, greater mental illness and mental HSU, less cleanliness, and lower life satisfaction than domiciled patients. Relationships among the variables are reported, and implications concerning health needs among the homeless are discussed.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.