Anglia Ruskin University
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Differences in Health Status, Health Behavior and Health Care Utilization between Immigrant and Native Homeless People in Spain: an Exploratory Study

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posted on 2023-08-30, 18:02 authored by Alejandro Gil-Salmeron, Lee Smith, Lin Yang, Anita Rieder, Igor Grabovac
Few studies have examined the differences between immigrant and native‐born homeless populations. Our aim was to conduct an exploratory study to examine the differences in health status, health behaviour and healthcare utilisation in a sample of Spanish immigrant and native homeless people. Study was conducted in eight different temporary accommodations in the Valencia region in August 2018. Overall, 86 participants were included in the analysis who answered questionnaires concerning socio‐demographic characteristics, immigration status, health status and behaviour, healthcare utilisation and experienced discrimination in healthcare and health literacy. In total, 76.7% were men with a mean age of 41.91 (14.17) years, with 60.4% having immigration background with an average of 4.8 (4.2) years since arrival in Spain. No differences were found in the subjective health status, however, native homeless participants reported significantly higher prevalence of heart disease (87.5% vs. 12.5%), hypertension (84.6% vs. 15.4%), psychological illness (63.6% vs. 36.4%) and were also more often smokers (73.5% vs. 28.8%), reported smoking more cigarettes per day (12.0 vs. 7.4) and were more often illegal drug users (17.6% vs. 2.0%). Immigrant participants were significantly more often not insured, reported more problems in healthcare access and had lower rates of visits to general practitioners and less hospital admissions. Differences were also observed in social status with the native homeless more often reporting receiving income, and living in less crowded accommodations. Our results show a variety of issues that the immigrant homeless population in Spain is confronted with that also prevents adequate social inclusion and achieving good health. However, the immigrant population engaged less often in risky health behaviour. More, and continuous, monitoring of social, mental and physical health of the homeless population is necessary. Public health interventions aiming at health promotion in the immigrant homeless populations need to focus on increasing overall social integration.



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Health & Social Care in the Community





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Faculty of Science & Engineering

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