Multiple Victimization of Spanish Adolescents: A Multilevel Analysis

Article excerpt

Adolescents are among the most vulnerable to victimization (Hamby & Finkelhor, 2001). Some studies indicate that adolescents are victimized at two or three times the rate of adults, and experience victimization episodes that are equally injurious as those perpetrated against adults (Finkelhor, Ormrod, Turner, & Hamby, 2005a; Wells & Rankin, 1995). Moreover, recent research confirms the pervasive exposure of children and adolescents to violence, crime, maltreatment, and other forms of victimization as a routine part of ordinary childhood. For example, in a study using a United States representative sample of adolescents, Finkelhor et al. (2005a) found that more than half of the participants had experienced a physical assault, more than I to 4 a property victimization, more than 1 in 8 a form of child maltreatment, 1 in 12 a sexual victimization, and more than 1 in 3 had witnessed violence or another form of indirect victimization.

Research on adolescents' victimization has increased, and most of the studies pay attention to prevalence, antecedents and/or consequences of specific forms of victimization (Finkelhor, Ormrod, Turner, & Hamby, 2005a,b; Saunders, 2003). For example, there is a growing number of studies on sexual abuse of adolescents (e.g., Finkelhor & Hashima, 2001; Kendall-Tackett, Williams, & Finkelhor, 1993), bullying (e.g., Duncan, 1999; Nansel, Overpeck, Puilla, Ruan, & Scheidt, 2003), or the witnessing of domestic violence (e.g., Fantuzzo & Mohr, 1999; Kolbo, Blakely, & Engleman, 1996). Likewise, various forms of adolescent victimization have been linked to a multitude of negative outcomes (see Saunders, 2003, for a review). For example, youth victimization has been associated with delinquent behavior (Howing, Wodarski, Lurtz, Gaudin, & Herbst, 1990; Kilpatrick, Saunders, & Smith, 2002; Smith & Thornberry, 1993), problematic substance use (Dembo, Williams, Schmeidler, Berry, Wothke, Getreu et al., 1992; Kilpatrick, Acierno, Saunders, Resnick, Best, & Schnurr, 2000; Kilpatrick, Ruggiero, Acierno, Saunders, Resnick, & Best, 2003), mental health problems (Epstein, Saunders, Kilpatrick, & Resnick, 1998; Kilpatrick, Saunders, & Smith, 2002; Turner, Finkelhor, & Ormrod, 2006), medical and physical problems (Hanson, Davis, Resnick, Saunders, Kilpatrick, & Holmes et al., 2001) suicidality (Bryant & Range, 1995; Saunders, Kilpatrick, Hanson, Resnick, & Walker, 1999), risk of revictimization (Saunders, Kilpatrick, & Resnick, 1998), and other undesirable consequences. As Saunders (2003) pointed out, "It is not uncommon for victims of violence to exhibit certain types of psychiatric disorders or dysfunctional behaviors at rates three, four, and even five times greater than nonvictims" (p. 358).

Additionally, a growing body of research suggests that many of the types of violence are not unique, singular experiences. Rather, it is common for children and adolescents to have been victims of several types of violence on multiple occasions (Green, Goodman, Kupronick, Corcoran, Petty, & Stocton et al., 2000; Kilpatrick & Saunders, 1999; Saunders, 2003). For example, Menard and Huizinga (2001), in their high-risk sample of adolescents, found "chronic multiple victimization" to be the norm. In fact, adolescents who have been exposed to only a single episode of one type of violence are a minority of victimized adolescents (Saunders, 2003). As Finkelhor et al. (2005a) noted, recent research confirms that multiple victimization is common, that different kinds of victimization are interrelated--adolescents who experience one type are also likely to be exposed to other forms of victimization--and that it is more likely that multiple victimized adolescents present distress and other psychopathological symptoms (Finkelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2007; Lauritsen & Quinet, 1995; Manion & Wilson, 1995; Outlaw, Ruback, & Britt, 2002). …