This paper studies the relationship between early mental health episodes and early homelessness, focusing on depression and anxiety amongst disadvantaged Australians. Using data from the Australian Journeys Home survey, we investigate whether the early onset of mental health conditions make a first transition into homelessness more likely. Similarly, we analyze whether early experiences of homelessness increase the likelihood of early onset of depression or anxiety. We perform our analysis separately for men and women since there are gender differences in rates of both mental health diagnosis and homelessness. After accounting for the effects of joint observed and unobserved determinants, we find that a person's first episode of depression makes a transition to homelessness more likely for both men and women. In contrast, anxiety disorders have no effect on the likelihood of experiencing homelessness. In addition, people's first experience of homelessness has no effect on the likelihood of developing depression, but does increase the likelihood of anxiety disorders for men only.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This paper uses unit record data from Journeys Home (JH): Longitudinal Study of Factors Affecting Housing Stability (JH). The study was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS). The Department of Employment has provided information for use in JH and the survey collection was managed by the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research (Melbourne Institute). The findings and views reported in this paper, however, are those of the authors and should not be attributed to DSS, the Department of Employment or the Melbourne Institute. We thank Melisa Bubonya for her assistance in editing the paper and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on a previous version of the paper.