Cover: In Flux

In Flux

Associations of Substance Use with Instability in Housing, Employment, and Income Among Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness

Published in: PLoS ONE 19(5): e0303439. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0303439

Posted on rand.org May 15, 2024

by Rupa Jose, Elizabeth J. D'Amico, David J. Klein, Anthony Rodriguez, Eric R. Pedersen, Joan S. Tucker

Young adults experiencing homelessness (YAEH) are faced with instabilities in many areas of their lives, including their living situation, employment, and income. Little is known about how the experience of instability in these different domains might be associated with substance use. Leveraging data collected on 276 YAEH in Los Angeles County, regression analyses examine associations between three distinct types of instability (housing, employment, income) and participants' self-reported alcohol use, alcohol consequences, non-cannabis drug use, and substance use symptoms. Results indicated that recent instability in income, employment, and secure housing for those with access to it (but not housing in general or non-secure housing) were significantly associated with greater alcohol/drug use or substance use symptoms. Depression was also found to moderate the association between employment instability and alcohol use. Our findings suggest that efforts to reduce instability in income, employment, and secure housing may have positive benefits for substance using YAEH, especially those with depressive symptoms.

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