Determinants of depression and anxiety in homeless people: A population survey of homeless people in Hong Kong

Siu-Ming CHAN*, Hung WONG, Yikang CHEN, Mun-Yu Vera TANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


There are growing concerns about the homeless and mental health issues globally. This study aims to examine the mental health situation of homelessness and the determinants of anxiety and depression of them in Hong Kong.

The data from the largest territory-wide study of the homeless population in 2021 was analyzed. Descriptive statistics and logistic regressions were used to investigate the association between mental health and socioeconomic variables, including demographic background, economic indicators, COVID-19 worries, government measures, and respect by others. The symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed using Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

The results showed that being female, food insecurity, and chronic diseases were the risk factors for anxiety and depression. A high level of respect by others was the protective factor for depression (adjusted OR 0.37, 95% CI [0.23, 0.61]) and anxiety (adjusted OR 0.40, 95% CI [0.24, 0.68]), compared to a low level of respect in the multivariate model.

Providing medical outreach services, additional resources for social services, implementation of homeless-friendly policies, and a progressive supply of public and transitional housing would help enhance the well-being of the homeless population.
Original languageEnglish
Article number002076402311522
Pages (from-to)1145-1156
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Issue number5
Early online date3 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank all the respondents, volunteers, social workers, and NGOs for joining the survey and supporting this research project

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Homeless
  • mental health
  • respect
  • Hong Kong
  • COVID-19


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