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Kenyan Street Boys: The Effect of Individual Experiences on Psychological Well-Being 

Megan Barnes, Psy,D., Charles Chege, Psy.D., Joy M. Bustrum, Psy.D., Samuel Girgius, Psy.D., T. M. Caddell, M.A., Azusa Pacific University)

Abstract

Homelessness is a rampant and growing problem worldwide, and many of the world’s homeless are children (Wright, 2000). With approximately 600,000 children living on the streets in Kenya, this study assessed the psychological impact of the individual experiences of Kenyan street boys. Participants included 64 Kenyan boys between the ages of 10 and 15 who had lived on the street. Participants were administered an Individual Experiences Checklist (IEC), Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 6-18 (CBCL), and the Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Children (TSCC). Results indicated that after accounting for all variance, time on the street was significantly and positively associated with increased levels of trauma. Three critical considerations for designing programs for this population emerged from this study’s results: (a) Reduce the number of children working and living on the streets; (b) provide rehabilitation services; and (c) provide psychoeducation and conflict resolution to families and communities.

Keywords: Street children, trauma, rehabilitation, psychological impact

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