A comparison of the health and mental health status of homeless mothers in Worcester, Mass: 1993 and 2003

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry; Clinical and Population Health Research; Center for Mental Health Services Research; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Aid to Families with Dependent Children; Community Health Centers; Family Characteristics; Female; Health Status; *Health Surveys; Homeless Persons; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Massachusetts; Mental Disorders; Middle Aged; Mothers; Poverty; Prevalence; Socioeconomic Factors; United States; *Women's Health




OBJECTIVES: We assessed background characteristics, health status, and prevalence rates of mental health disorders in 2 studies of homeless mothers conducted in Worcester, Mass, one in 1993 and the other in 2003.

METHODS: We compared the women taking part in the 2 studies, which involved similar methodologies, on the key variables of interest over time.

RESULTS: Homeless families taking part in the 2003 study were poorer than those taking part in the 1993 study, and female heads of household in that study reported more physical health limitations, major depressive illness, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

CONCLUSION: Data from 2003 suggest that the characteristics of homeless mothers changed over the 10-year period assessed. Service providers and shelter staff may need to refine services so that they are responsive to these changing needs.

DOI of Published Version



Am J Public Health. 2006 Aug;96(8):1444-8. Epub 2006 Jun 29. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of public health

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID