Author Affiliation: Section of Adolescent Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, La.
The words "street youth" conjure different images for each reader based
on experience or suppositions. Clinicians who are newly introduced to a group
of homeless or marginally housed adolescents and young adults are invariably
surprised by what they had never noticed before. They begin to recognize young
people on the street they had previously ignored and identify street youth
among their own patients. Street youth are often invisible, blending into
the urban, suburban, or rural landscape. To complicate matters, street youth
do not identify themselves as homeless or marginally housed unless such identifiers
provide a specific advantage. Even then, street youth often resist the label
because they stereotype homeless people as substance-abusing adults who should
be avoided as dangerous, not individuals with whom to identify. Alternatively,
street youth often depict themselves as adventurers and self-determined individualists
who are living life on their own terms. Even those with a long history of
neglect and abuse rarely tolerate being treated like dependents or objects
Abdalian SE. Street Youth Mortality: Leaning With Intent to Fall. JAMA. 2004;292(5):624–626. doi:10.1001/jama.292.5.624
Browse and subscribe to JAMA Network podcasts!
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: