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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hospitalizations among homeless women: Are there ethnic and drug abuse disparities?

  • Author(s): Gelberg, L
  • Andersen, R
  • Longshore, D
  • Leake, B
  • Nyamathi, A
  • Teruya, C
  • Arangua, L
  • et al.

This paper explores associations among the vulnerabilities of being female, being a member of a minority group, and being a drug abuser in homeless women's hospitalizations. It uses a 1997 probability survey of 974 homeless females age 15-44 in Los Angeles. In unadjusted analyses, whites were more likely than other ethnic minority groups to be hospitalized, and drug abusers were more likely to be hospitalized than non-drug abusers. Multiple logistic regression analyses indicated that factors associated with hospitalization differed considerably among the ethnic and drug-abuse subgroups. For example, ethnic disparities in inpatient health care were found for drug-abusing women, but not for those who did not abuse drugs. Pregnancy was the only important determinant of hospitalization in all subgroups (OR, 2.9-17.4). Preventing unintended pregnancy appears to be the most inclusive means of reducing hospitalization and attendant costs among homeless women. © 2008 National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

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