Homelessness initiated by trauma
Davidson III, Richard A.
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Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is the disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a bump, blow, jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury. Attempts to quantify mTBI have included inconsistent methods and created difficulty in identifying its prevalence in many populations. Among the populations most vulnerable to mTBI are the homeless, for whom there is a cycle of mTBI, substance use, and arrest. This thesis consists of three chapters. In the first chapter, an outline for the relationships between homelessness, mTBI, substance use, and arrests is provided. In the second chapter, we show that the colloquial understanding of head injuries held by our homeless cohort addresses significantly fewer instances of mTBI than a definition derived from medical consensus. This adds to the growing need for consistency of reporting criteria as well as greater public education with respect to head injury. In the third chapter, we present evidence that mTBI sustained before the age of 12 can predict substance use and arrest, though it is most useful in addressing depressants such as alcohol and sedatives. Finally, we address the limitations of our homeless cohort and the direction of future investigation in light of our findings.