Homeless persons with psychosis are particularly susceptible to unsheltered homelessness, which includes living on the streets, in cars, and other places not meant for human habitation. Homeless persons with psychosis have distinct barriers to accessing care and comprise a high-need and hard-to-serve homeless subpopulation. Therefore, this study sought to understand unsheltered homelessness in persons with psychosis and its relationship to cognitive impairment, clinical symptoms, and community functioning, examined both categorically and dimensionally. This study included 76 homeless participants with a history of a psychotic diagnosis who were enrolled in a supported housing program but had not yet received housing. This study used two different housing stability thresholds (literally homeless at any point vs. literally homeless >20% of days) for comparing homeless Veterans with psychosis living in sheltered versus unsheltered situations on cognition, clinical symptoms, and community integration. Dimensional analyses also examined the relationship between percentage of days spent in unsheltered locations and cognition, clinical symptoms, and community integration. Sheltered and unsheltered Veterans with psychosis did not differ on clinical symptoms or community integration, but there was an inconsistent group difference on cognition depending on the threshold used for determining housing stability. In the unsheltered group, cognitive deficits in overall cognition, visual learning, and social cognition were related to more days spent in unsheltered locations. Rehabilitation efforts targeting specific cognitive deficits may be useful to facilitate greater access to care and successful interventions in this population.
Katiah Llerena, Sonya Gabrielian, Michael F. Green
Schizophrenia Research, Volume 197, July 2018