Correlates of Hospital Use in Homeless and Unstably Housed Women: The Role of Physical Health and Pain

Kelly M. Doran, Martha Shumway, Rani A. Hoff, Oni J. Blackstock, Samantha E. Dilworth, Elise D. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To examine correlates of emergency department (ED) use and hospitalizations in a community-based cohort of homeless and unstably housed women, with a focus on the role of physical health and pain. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline survey results from a study of homeless and unstably housed women in San Francisco. Primary outcomes were any self-reported ED visit and inpatient hospitalization over the prior 6months. Primary independent variables of interest were self-reported physical health status, as measured by the Short Form-12 (SF-12), and bodily pain. Other potential covariates were organized using the Gelberg-Andersen Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations. Standard bivariate and multivariable logistic regression techniques were used. Results: Three hundred homeless and unstably housed women were included in the study, of whom 37.7% reported having an ED visit and 23.0% reported being hospitalized in the prior 6months. Mean SF-12 physical health scores indicated poorer than average health compared with the U.S. norm. Most women (79.3%) reported at least some limitation in their daily activities owing to pain. In adjusted analyses, moderate and high levels of bodily pain were significantly correlated with ED visits (odds ratio [OR],2.92 and OR,2.57) and hospitalizations (OR,6.13 and OR,2.49). As SF-12 physical health scores decreased, indicating worse health, the odds of ED use increased. Predisposing, enabling, and additional need factors did not mediate these associations. Conclusions: Physical health and bodily pain are important correlates of ED visits and hospitalizations among homeless and unstably housed women. Interventions to reduce ED use among women who are homeless should address the high levels of pain in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-541
Number of pages7
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlates of Hospital Use in Homeless and Unstably Housed Women: The Role of Physical Health and Pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this