, Volume 21, Issue 11, pp 645-653

Effects of poly-victimization on self-esteem and post-traumatic stress symptoms in Spanish adolescents

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Abstract

This study aims to provide evidence concerning the effects of experiencing multiple forms of victimization (poly-victimization) on self-esteem and post-traumatic stress symptoms in Spanish adolescents. A total of 722 adolescents were recruited from seven secondary schools in Catalonia, Spain. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the Youth Self Report and the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire were employed to assess self-esteem, post-traumatic stress symptoms and victimization, respectively. Participants were divided into three groups (non-victim, victim and poly-victim groups) according to the total number of different kinds of victimization experienced. Results showed that 88.4 % of adolescents had been exposed to at least one kind of victimization. Poly-victimization was associated with a higher number of post-traumatic stress symptoms in both boys and girls. Also, self-liking was significantly lower in the poly-victim group, whereas self-competence was equivalent across the three victimization groups. Girls were approximately twice as likely to report child maltreatment (OR = 1.92) and sexual victimization (OR = 2.41) as boys. In conclusion, the present study adds evidence on the importance of taking account of the full burden of victimizations suffered when studying victimization correlates. Also, it highlights the importance of prevention policies to focus particularly on preserving adolescents’ sense of social worth.