Health of Homeless Women with Recent Experience of Rape

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, v. 15, no. 4, Apr. 2000, p. 265-268

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1999

by Suzanne L. Wenzel, Barbara Leake, Lillian Gelberg

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There is limited understanding of the physical health, mental health, and substance use or abuse correlates of sexual violence against homeless women. This study documents the association of rape with health and substance use or abuse characteristics reported by a probability sample of 974 homeless women in Los Angeles. Controlling for potential confounders, women who reported rape fared worse than those who did not on every physical and mental health measure and were also more likely to have used and abused drugs other than alcohol. Results should serve to alert clinicians about groups of homeless women who may benefit from rape screening and treatment interventions.

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