Disaffiliation, substance use, and exiting homelessness

Cheryl Zlotnick, Tammy Tam, Marjorie J. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study tested whether social affiliation was associated with exits from homelessness for a county-wide probability sample of 397 homeless adults who were followed over a 15-month period culminating in 1992. For the total sample, support from family or friends and service use were related to an increased likelihood of exiting from homelessness. Surprisingly, exits from homelessness were associated with social affiliation (i.e., support from family/friends and services use) only among homeless adults who did not have current substance-use disorders. This relationship did not hold for those with current substance-use disorders. Findings suggest that homeless adults without current substance-use disorders may be better able to engage services and support from family/friends to exit homelessness than homeless adults who have current substance-use disorders. Perhaps service providers who are targeting homeless adults with substance-use disorders and want to help them exit homelessness need to emphasize initiating substance-use treatment before addressing other issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-599
Number of pages23
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number3-6
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the thoughtful comments and suggestions offered by the anonymous reviewers. This work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alc oholism (AA12019) and the National Institute of Mental Health (MH51651 and MH46104).


  • Case management
  • Disaffiliation
  • Homelessness
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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