In a prospective review of studies, researchers found the lifetime prevalence of any severity of TBI in homeless and marginally housed individuals was 53.1 percent, and the lifetime prevalence of either moderate or severe TBI was 22.5 percent. More than half of homeless persons and others living in unstable housing situations suffer TBI at some point in their life, a rate that far exceeds the general population, according to a meta-analysis of studies from six countries including the US and Canada.
The study, published in The Lancet Public Health, suggests that TBI is an often-overlooked problem in the homeless population, with brain injury putting people at risk for poorer health and functioning amid already difficult life circumstances. TBI can put a person at increased risk for neurologic and psychiatric conditions, which could become part of a cascade of factors that lead to homelessness. At the same time, living on the street or in a shelter puts a person at risk for falls, assault, and other violent acts.