DOI: 10.1093/hsw/hlae002 ISSN: 0360-7283

Examining the Role of Self-Harm in the Relationship between Emergency Department Service Utilization and Trauma-Induced Homelessness among Homeless Individuals in Texas

Sumaita Choudhury, Sharon Lee Choi, Yehyang Lee, Stacey Stevens Manser
  • Health (social science)


Homelessness is a complex public health problem in the United States. Current or ongoing history of trauma among individuals adds to the complexity and challenges of homelessness. Our study assessed the moderating role of self-harm in the association between emergency department (ED) service utilization and trauma-induced homelessness (TIH) among adults in Texas. Homeless adults (N = 282) who completed their baseline Vulnerability Index Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Prescreen Tool survey between February 2021 and February 2022 at a Local Mental Health Authority in Texas were selected. The outcome variable, TIH, was assessed by current period of homelessness due to experiencing trauma or abuse. The main independent variable was ED utilization, while self-harm in the past year was assessed as the moderating variable. A multivariate logistic regression with a moderation analysis was conducted while adjusting for the covariates. Individuals who utilized ED services and engaged in self-harm and risky behaviors had greater odds of experiencing current period of TIH. Male respondents were less likely to experience TIH. Finally, engaging in self-harm significantly moderated the association between ED service use and TIH. This study may help inform efforts to develop tailored interventions and promote resilience-based approaches to improve health outcomes among individuals experiencing homelessness due to TIH.

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