Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

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Publication Source

Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved

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Objectives. This study compares the use of and cost for behavioral health services among heads of homeless and housed poor families. Methods. Medicaid records for 59,135 heads of families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits were matched with data from Philadelphia’s municipal shelter system. Propensity score matching was used to select a matched control group to those identified as having been homeless between 1997 and 2003. Behavioral health services utilization was then assessed based on Medicaid claims records. Results. Substantially higher levels of behavioral health services use and corresponding costs were found among heads of families with a history of shelter use. Conclusions. Greater use of behavioral health services by heads of homeless families may reflect greater severity of disorders or a greater likelihood to seek treatment relative to what has been suggested by previous research.


Suggested Citation:
Jung Min Park, Stephen Metraux, and Dennis P. Culhane. "Behavioral health services use among heads of homeless and housed poor families" Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 21.2010 (2010): 582-590.

Copyright © 2010 Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. Volume 21, 2010, pages 582-590. Reprinted with permission by The Johns Hopkins University Press.


homelessness, behavioral health



Date Posted: 14 July 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.