Abstract: Violence, Trauma, Mental Health, and Substance Use of Homeless Youth That Identify As Juggalos (Society for Social Work and Research 20th Annual Conference - Grand Challenges for Social Work: Setting a Research Agenda for the Future)

Violence, Trauma, Mental Health, and Substance Use of Homeless Youth That Identify As Juggalos

Sunday, January 17, 2016: 11:30 AM
Meeting Room Level-Meeting Room 6 (Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel)
* noted as presenting author
Robin Petering, MSW, PhD Student, University of Southern California, Los ANgeles, CA
Eric Rice, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Homeless youth is a large and growing population with an estimated 1.6 million in America. Insane Clown Posse (ICP) is a rap-rock hip-hop duo whose fans are known as “Juggalos.” Many homeless youth identify as Juggalos most likely because ICP’s music embraces poverty and being an outsider in mainstream society. Juggalos are stereotyped as being violent, undereducated, poor, racist, crime-committing youth and in 2012, the FBI officially labeled Juggalos as a gang. However, little is known about homeless youth Juggalos because no empirical research has ever considered this population. The purpose of this current study is to explore the risk of Juggalo identifying homeless youth.

Method: A sample of 394 Los Angeles area drop-in service seeking homeless youth completed a self-administered questionnaire. Youth were asked if they have ever identified as a Juggalo. Youth were also asked a series of questions regarding their health and behavioral health.. Univariable logistic regression models were used to test the likelihood of risk variables  to be associated with Juggalo identification.

Results: Within the sample, 16% of homeless youth identified as Juggalos. Univariable logistic regressions revealed that Juggalos were twice as likely to identify as a LGBQ and white. Juggalos have twice the odds of ever spending time in jail or be recently injured during a fight. They have four times the odds to have recently been in a fight or identifying as a gang member. Juggalos are twice as likely to recently inject drugs, three times as likely to recently use methamphetamine and 3.4 times more likely to recently use crack cocaine. Juggalos are more likely to have witnessed community violence  or witness a family member experience a violent death or serious injury. Juggalos are more likely to have thoughts of suicide, PTSD, experience physical or sexual abuse as a child and to have lived in over 5 foster care placements.

Discussion:Our analyses reveal that identification as a Juggalo is prevalent amongst the homeless youth population. Rates of membership in this Los Angeles based sample are higher than what would be expected in a housed youth population.  This study is unique in that it is the first empirical study to explore the risk and behaviors of youth who identify as Juggalos. Results indicate that Juggalos are a subpopulation of HY that are at-risk of a variety of poor outcomes compared to their non-Juggalo peers which has implications on future practice and intervention development. Identification as a Juggalo could be used as an indicator for risk but previous trauma must be considered. Given the lack of knowledge on the intersection between youth homelessness and Juggalos, the results emphasize the need to prioritize future research in this field to inform policies and programs that can address the specific needs of this population.