Homeless veterans have numerous co-occurring medical and behavioral health problems. Identification of common patterns of comorbid conditions may help providers to determine severity of medical conditions and triage health care more effectively. In this study we identify such patterns of comorbid medical and psychiatric disorders using cluster analysis and we evaluate relationships between these patterns and sociodemographic factors. We used data from a survey of 3,595 veterans in a regional VA network who were presently or recently homeless assessing nine major medical disorder and six psychiatric disorder categories. Diagnostic ratings of presence or absence of these disorders were placed into the same cluster analysis to determine whether separable clusters emerged reflecting differing diagnostic profiles. There are recognizable patterns of comorbidity involving several psychiatric and general medical disorders, as well as disorders of both types that exist independently. Cluster membership was associated with various sociodemographic indices. Mental and general medical health problems in homeless veterans often occur in association with each other and form identifiable patterns that vary on sociodemographic factors.
Psychiatric Quarterly – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 14, 2009
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