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Polyvictimization and Its Relationship to Symptoms of Psychopathology in a Southern European Sample of Adolescent Outpatients

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2014 Pages: 747-756
M. Soledad Álvarez-Lister; Noemí Pereda; Judit Abad; Georgina Guilera
Date Published
April 2014
10 pages
Using self-reports, this study assessed the relationship between polyvictimization and symptoms of psychopathology in a clinical sample of 132 adolescent outpatients between the ages of 12 and 17 who were participating in mental health services in Spain.
Across their life time, adolescent polyvictims (approximately 13 percent of the sample) accumulated comparatively more episodes of victimization that were related to a wide range of contexts (approximately five of the six evaluated modules). This study's findings confirm that the accumulation of victimization experiences increases the risk for psychological impairment in youth. Differences between polyvictims and the other adolescents were found for both emotional and behavioral problems, as well as for general impairment. This association was maintained even when the severity of clinical symptomatology was taken into account. Regarding demographic variables, there were no differences between polyvictims and the rest of the sample. The Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire and the Youth Self-report were used to analyze polyvictimization and symptoms of psychopathology, respectively. Participants reported on a wide range of victimizations that included 36 forms of victimization against children and youth grouped into six modules. The modules are conventional crime (nine items); child maltreatment (four items); victimization by peers and siblings (six items); sexual victimization (six items); witnessing and indirect victimization (nine items); and Internet victimization (two items). 3 tables and 40 references