Patterns of Poly-Victimization in a Sample of At-Risk Youth
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Youth involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems are at especially high risk for exposure to violence. Research finds that poly-victims, youth who experience multiple types of victimizations, have worse outcomes than youth who experience one type of violence. We employed Latent Class Analysis to examine patterns of poly-victimization in a sample of at-risk youth (N = 467) participating in a program to reduce the effects of childhood exposure to violence and how those patterns impact self-reported violent behavior and primary mental health diagnosis. Results indicated that 96 % of the sample reported any past year violence exposure and 87 % reported at least two past year exposures. Three victimization classes emerged: low victimization, peer and physical assault, and high violence exposure. Class membership predicted violent behavior, while results related to class membership and primary mental health diagnosis were less clear. Implications for screening, assessment, and treatment are discussed.
KeywordsVictimization Juvenile justice Child welfare Mental health Trauma
This study was supported by a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2011-MU-MU-K002). The authors thank the Cuyahoga County Witness/Victim Service Center and FrontLine Services for their data collection activities.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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