Date of Award

Summer 2001

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Numerous biological and psychological factors associated with impaired neurological functioning have been identified as common in the homeless, but relatively few studies have specifically addressed the neuropsychological functioning of homeless individuals. A review of the literature revealed that neuropsychological assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for the homeless tend to be inadequate or altogether lacking. Therefore, this study explored the neuropsychological functioning of 75 homeless men in shelter. The presence of cognitive impairment was detected in 83% of the sample. The average Full Scale IQ score was 83.35 (SD= 15.42; Range= 54 - 116) with 23% of the scores falling at or below 69, a range indicative of mental retardation. The incidence of impairments in new verbal learning (61 %), memory (52% - 73%), and attention and concentration ii ( 19% - 27%) were very high. Likewise, the incidence of self-reported traumatic brain injuries (41 %), substance abuse/dependence (92%), and other mental health disorders (47%) were also very high. Nearly one-third of the sample demonstrated reading abilities at or below a fifth grade level. These findings suggest that the homeless men in this study have considerable diagnostic and treatment needs that are not being met by most of the social services currently offered to this population.



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