Child mental health problems as risk factors for victimization.
The current study examines the effects of child internalizing and externalizing symptoms on increases in victimization over a 1-year period. Using longitudinal data from the Developmental Victimization Survey (DVS), analyses are based on a national probability sample of 1,467 children aged 2-17. Results indicate that children with high levels of co-occurring internalizing and externalizing symptoms were particularly likely to experience increased exposure to several forms of victimization, including peer victimization, maltreatment, and sexual victimization, controlling for earlier victimization and adversity. The relationship of symptoms to victimization exposure differed across developmental stage. Elementary school-age children with high levels of symptoms were especially vulnerable to victimization by peers, whereas distressed youth in early adolescence were particularly vulnerable to sexual victimization. Mental health problems in childhood and adolescence appear to represent important risk factors for increased victimization. Future interventions might consider targeting youth with co-occurring internalizing and externalizing symptoms during especially vulnerable developmental stages.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Turner, H.A., Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R. Child mental health problems as risk factors for victimization. (2010) Child Maltreatment, 15 (2), pp. 132-143.
© The Author(s) 2010.