Mental Health Status and Homelessness as a Factors of Substance Abuse - Paper Example

3 pages
636 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Problem solving
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Homelessness is attributed to many factors. Some of the causal factors include low socio-economic status, mental health problems, heavy drinking, unemployment, and loss of housing. Homelessness has been linked to mental health problems in affected individuals and substance abuse problems. In the current study, Huntley (2015) investigates whether homelessness is related to mental health and substance abuse. Findings from studies of homelessness will help in addressing the increasing mental health problems in the United States.

Data File Description

The study was carried out to find out whether mental health status and homelessness predicted substance abuse severity in adult participants and to establish if mental health status predicted substance abuse in adults over and above homeless status. The researcher collected data from 60 subjects; 30 homeless and 30 non-homeless individuals. The variables of interest in this study included mental health status, homelessness, and substance abuse. Mental health status can be defined as a state of well-being in which every person achieves his or her own potential, manages normal life stresses, is capable of working and contributes to his or her community. Homelessness refers to a condition of individuals lacking a permanent dwelling, such as an apartment or a house. Substance abuse is the harmful use of psychoactive substances. The variables, mental health status and alcohol/drug use behaviors, were assessed and measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale and the Addiction Severity Index Self Report Form respectively (Huntley, 2015).

Testing Assumptions

Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used in this study (Huntley, 2015). For data to be analyzed using this type of data analysis, certain assumptions must be met. First, there should exist a linear relationship between the outcome and predictor variables. Second, data should have multivariate normality. Third, the predictor variables should not be highly correlated with each other. That is, there should be no multicollinearity. Lastly, data analyzed should show homoscedasticity. All these assumptions were not tested in the current study, which is a major limitation of the study.

Research Question, Hypotheses, and Alpha Level

The study was guided by certain research questions and hypotheses. The study was aimed at answering two research question: (i) Does mental health status and homelessness significant predict substance abuse severity among adults? and (ii) Does mental health status significantly predict substance abuse severity in non-homeless adults? The hypotheses for the study included: (i) Mental health status and homelessness significantly predict substance abuse severity among adults and (ii) Mental health status significantly predict substance abuse severity among non-homeless adults. Data analysis were conducted at the alpha level of .01, p < .01 (Huntley, 2015).


A multiple regression analysis results showed that housing status significantly predicts alcohol abuse, F (1, 51) = 13,257, p = .01. On its own, mental health status was found to significantly predict alcohol abuse, p = .023. Therefore the second hypothesis (mental health status significantly predict substance abuse severity among non-homeless adults) was accepted. Additionally, using Enter method to force mental health and housing status into the second block, mental health status were found to be a better predictor of alcohol abuse, p = .001. This further proves that mental health status does not significantly predict alcohol abuse and supports the non-rejection of the second hypothesis (Huntley, 2015).


Findings from data analysis show that mental health status and homelessness significantly predict substance abuse severity among the participants. That is, individuals with mental illness and those who are homeless are more likely to show higher rates of substance use compared to their mentally healthy and non-homeless counterparts. It was also reported that mental health condition significantly predicts the degree of substance abuse, over and above participants homeless status. This means that mentally ill individuals are more likely to be engaged in substance abuse, irrespective of their homelessness or non-homelessness state.


Huntley, S. S. (2015). A comparison of substance abuse severity among homeless and non-homeless adults. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 25(4), 312-321. doi:10.1080/10911359.2014.969125


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