Research has documented that a significant portion of youth are exposed to bias victimization. However, less is known about whether experiencing certain types of bias victimization (e.g., sexual orientation bias) is more or less likely to be related to a more extensive bias victimization history (i.e., experiencing multiple types of bias victimization) and whether exposure to multiple types of bias victimization explains any relationships between specific types of bias victimization and negative outcomes. To address these gaps, the current study explores relationships between exposure to multiple types of bias-motivated victimization, trauma symptomatology and perceived social support. Participants were 854 youth and young adults (60.9% female) from three higher risk communities who completed a survey on personal experiences with bias-related victimization. The average age of participants was 16.6 years; 28.5% of the sample described themselves as Black or African American; 13.4% as Hispanic or Latino (any race); 45.3% as White, and 12.8% as another race. Sixty-nine percent of the sample described their sexual orientation as heterosexual; 8.9% as gay, lesbian, or homosexual; 12.5% as bisexual; and 9.5% as another sexual orientation. Sixty-three percent of participants reported at least one type of bias victimization in their lifetime, and more than one in three youth (38.7%) experienced two or more types of bias victimization in their lifetimes (18.1% two types, 12.1% three types, and 8.5% four or more types). Experiencing multiple types of bias victimization was related to higher trauma symptomatology and less perceived social support. Experiencing multiple types of bias victimization attenuated or eliminated the association between individual types of bias victimization and well-being. The findings contribute to a growing body of research demonstrating the damaging mental health effects of occupying multiple marginalized statuses, and points to the cumulation of bias victimization experiences as an important factor contributing to significant differences in well-being and support among youth and young adults.
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All phases of this study were supported by a National Institute of Justice grant [2015-R2-CX-K127]. Points of view or opinions in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.Data Sharing and Declaration
The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data repository, https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/web/pages/NACJD/index.html.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of New Hampshire Institutional Review Board.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants involved in the study. Written informed consent was obtained from legal guardians of minors. Minors (under age 18) provided written informed assent. Written informed consent was obtained from young adults (age 18–21).
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Mitchell, K.J., Jones, L.M., Turner, H.A. et al. Exposure to Multiple Forms of Bias Victimization on Youth and Young Adults: Relationships with Trauma Symptomatology and Social Support. J Youth Adolescence 49, 1961–1975 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01304-z