Entering Prostitution in Adolescence: History of Youth Homelessness Predicts Earlier Entry

Courtney Cronley, Andrea N. Cimino, Kris Hohn, Jaya Davis, Elissa Madden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The effect of youth homelessness on age of entry into prostitution was tested, controlling for other known covariates using a multivariate model. Women (N = 96) who self-identified as having engaged in prostitution completed cross-sectional standardized questionnaires (Mage = 42.6, SD = 9.18; 62% African American). Women with a history of youth homelessness entered prostitution nearly 8 years earlier than their peers without this history (at 18 vs. 25 years old). Lack of a high school degree or equivalent also predicted an earlier age of entry (at 20 vs. 28 years old). Findings highlight the poverty dynamics that underlie the relationship between early entry into prostitution and homelessness. Young women, living on the street or in shelters, with limited education and employment opportunities, are at high risk of entering prostitution when they are barely out of adolescence. Future research will be better able to design age-specific prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-908
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 20 2016


  • homelessness
  • juvenile starters
  • poverty
  • sex work
  • survival sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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