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What are the Predictors of Volatile Substance Use in an Urban Community of Adults Who are Homeless?

Publication: Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health
26 June 2015


The present study explored the prevalence of volatile substance use (VSU ) in a community of homeless adults. The importance of individual life history characteristics (history of traumatic events, residential school history, mental and physical health conditions) were also examined with respect to past-year volatile substance use in this sample. Overall, the results indicate that a variety of traumatic events, particularly residential school history and a number of mental and physical health conditions, were significantly associated with VSU in this urban Canadian sample. These findings have novel implications for community interventions for VSU and highlight the importance of conceptualizing cultural and historical traumas in understanding VSU .


Dans cette étude, nous évaluons la prévalence de l'utilisation de substances volatiles (USV ) dans une communauté d'adultes itinérants vivant en milieu urbain au Canada. Nous examinons également le lien entre des caractéristiques du cycle de vie (historique des événements traumatisants, séjours en pensionnat, maladies mentales et physiques) et l'utilisation de substances volatiles, durant l'année précédant notre étude, parmi ces personnes. Nos résultats montrent qu'un grand nombre d’événements traumatisants, en particulier des séjours en pensionnat et des maladies mentales et physiques, sont associés à l'USV dans notre échantillon. Ces résultats ont des implications en matière d'interventions communautaires dans les cas d'USV, et mettent en lumière l'importance de tenir compte des événements traumatisants de natures culturelle et historique pour mieux comprendre l'USV .

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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health
Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health
Volume 34Number 2July 2015
Pages: 37 - 51


Version of record online: 26 June 2015

Key Words

  1. homelessness
  2. mental illness
  3. physical illness
  4. residential school
  5. trauma
  6. volatile substance use


  1. itinérance
  2. maladie mentale
  3. maladie physique
  4. pensionnats
  5. événements traumatisants
  6. utilisation de substances volatiles



Tracy DeBoer
University of Manitoba
Jino Distasio
University of Manitoba and University of Winnipeg
Corinne A. Isaak
University of Manitoba
Leslie E. Roos
University of Manitoba and University of Oregon
Shay-Lee Bolton
University of Manitoba
Maria Medved
University of Manitoba
Laurence Y. Katz
University of Manitoba
Paula Goering
Lucille Bruce
Mental Health Commission of Canada
Jitender Sareen [email protected]
University of Manitoba

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