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Victimization, polyvictimization , and health in Swedish adolescents

Authors Aho N, Proczkowska-Björklund M, Svedin CG

Received 31 March 2016

Accepted for publication 4 May 2016

Published 26 August 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 89—99

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S109587

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Alastair Sutcliffe

Nikolas Aho, Marie Proczkowska Björklund, Carl Göran Svedin

Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Abstract: The main objective of this article was to study the relationship between the different areas of victimization (eg, sexual victimization) and psychological symptoms, taking into account the full range of victimization domains. The final aim was to contribute further evidence regarding the bias that studies that focus on just one area of victimization may be introduced into our psychological knowledge. The sample included 5,960 second-year high school students in Sweden with a mean age of 17.3 years (range =16–20 years, standard deviation =0.652), of which 49.6% were females and 50.4% males. The Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children were used to assess victimization and psychological problems separately. The results show that a majority of adolescents have been victimized, females reported more total events and more sexual victimization and childhood maltreatment, and males were more often victims of conventional crime. The majority of victimization domains as well as the sheer number of events (polyvictimization [PV]) proved to be harmful to adolescent health, affecting females more than males. PV explained part of the health effect and had an impact on its own and in relation to each domain. This suggests the possibility that PV to a large degree explains trauma symptoms. In order to understand the psychological effects of trauma, clinicians and researchers should take into account the whole range of possible types of victimization.

Keywords: victimization, childhood trauma, psychological symptoms, JVQ, TSCC

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