Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 291–300 | Cite as

Polyvictimization in Developmental Context

  • David Finkelhor
  • Anne Shattuck
  • Heather A. Turner
  • Richard Ormrod
  • Sherry L. Hamby


Polyvictimization (i.e., exposure to multiple forms of victimization) appears highly correlated with indicators of traumatic stress in children. In this study, a national sample of children and youth were assessed for 36 different kinds of victimization using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire. Polyvictims were defined as the 10% of children experiencing the most different kinds of victimization in each of 4 developmental cohorts. The younger polyvictims had somewhat fewer victimizations overall, less sexual victimization, and more victimization at the hands of family members, particularly siblings. However, polyvictimization at every developmental level was strongly associated with distress symptoms. This study suggests the importance of assessing for and identifying polyvictims at all ages, including among preschoolers.


child abuse bullying sexual abuse sexual assault exposure to violence 


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Copyright information

© Taylor & Francis Group, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Finkelhor
    • 1
  • Anne Shattuck
    • 1
  • Heather A. Turner
    • 1
  • Richard Ormrod
    • 1
  • Sherry L. Hamby
    • 2
  1. 1.Crimes Against Children Research CenterUniversity of New Hampshire, 126 Horton Social Science CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Sewanee, the University of the SouthSewaneeUSA

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