Psychological distress as a risk factor for re-victimization in children.
Objective: The goal of this study is to examine the role of psychological distress in predicting child re-victimization across various forms including conventional crime, peer/sibling violence, maltreatment, sexual violence, and witnessed violence. Methods: Longitudinal data from the Developmental Victimization Survey, which surveyed children between the ages of 2 and 17 using random digit dial (RDD) methodology, was used to ask about child victimization and psychological distress. The sample for this analysis was 1,025 children who had experienced at least one form of victimization in the first wave of data collection. Results: Results show that psychological distress (defined as a composite score of the depression, anger, and anxiety scales) was a unique significant predictor of subsequent overall victimization, as well as victimization across the different categories of victimization (conventional crime, maltreatment, peer and sibling victimization, sexual victimization, and witnessed/indirect victimization), while controlling for demographic variables and prior year victimization. Conclusions: These results suggest that the psychological consequences of victimization may also serve as precipitants for re-victimization. We discuss the implications this may have on the understanding of the psychological sequelae of victimization and its role in the risk of future victimization. Practice implications: This research suggests that practitioners should expand the forms of victimization that are assessed when working with victimized children. Treatment should not only focus on alleviating psychological distress, but also on the role it may play in raising the risk for re-victimization. Treatment providers should be attentive to bolstering protective qualities when treating victimized children.
Child Abuse and Neglect
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Cuevas, C.A., Finkelhor, D., Clifford, C., Ormrod, R.K., Turner, H.A. Psychological distress as a risk factor for re-victimization in children. (2010) Child Abuse and Neglect, 34 (4), pp. 235-243.
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd.