A grounded theory study of substance use patterns among homeless youth



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A Grounded Theory Study of Substance Use Patterns among Homeless Youth\r\n\r\nPublication No.______________\r\nPhilisie Starling Washington, PhD\r\nThe University of Texas Medical Branch, 2009\r\n\r\nSupervisor: Carolyn Phillips, PhD\r\n\r\nThere are an estimated 1.6 to 2.8 million homeless youth living on the streets of the U.S. each day. Regardless of their reasons for leaving home, youth on the streets are confronted with physical, mental and substance use problems. There are a limited number of studies on homeless youth. Few, if any have specifically explored the subjective viewpoints of homeless youth about substance use patterns including entering and exiting the world of substance use. The grounded theory methodology used in this dissertation guided the researcher to 1) identify previous experiences influencing homeless youth in their decision to use or not to use substances; 2) examine life situations of homeless youth through narratives and 3) discover a theory which explains the basic social process of substance use in homeless youth. Study participants were thirteen homeless youth ages 18 and 21 years old living in a shelter of a large metropolitan area in the southwest United States. The findings revealed the core category, Using, which consisted of three phases and five categories that described the experiences of homeless youth and substance use and ultimately, The Washington Theory of Substance Use among Homeless Youth The results of this dissertation will provide a foundation for further studies of substance use in homeless youth and contribute to the knowledge base of nursing, social science and medicine for prevention and treatment of substance use in homeless youth.\r\n



substance use patterns, substance use, homeless youth, homeless, grounded theory, drug addiction, drug abuse