The impact of lifetime victimization and polyvictimization on adolescents in Quebec: Mental health symptoms and gender differences

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Violence and Victims, 32(1),3-21.

This study documents lifetime experiences of victimizations, polyvictimization, and trauma symptoms among 1,400 adolescents from the province of Québec. The vast majority (81%) of adolescents were victimized during their lifetime, with most victims (82%) being the target of more than one form of victimization. Polyvictimization accounted for most variability in scores of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anger/ aggression compared to individual victimization categories. Sexual victimization and maltreatment still made an independent contribution in predicting all trauma scores once polyvictimization was considered. Gender differences were found in the victimization experiences contributing to the prediction of mental health symptoms. Sexual victimization was a significant predictor of PTSD and anger/aggression symptoms for girls, whereas witnessing violence predicted anger and PTSD symptoms for boys, and assault predicted their anger. This study outlines the importance of assessing various types of victimization among adolescents. Systematic data and observation of trends on child victimization are needed in Canada and elsewhere.

Research Areas

Province / Territory
Canadian CW research
Journal article