Poly-victimization, Trauma, and Resilience: Exploring Strengths That Promote Thriving After Adversity.

Academic Article


  • Although it is well known that victimization is associated with higher trauma symptoms, there is still limited information on the protective factors that can help people thrive after adversity. Using the Resilience Portfolio Model as a framework, this study explores a range of psychological and social strengths in a community sample of youth from the southern U.S.A sample of 440 youth aged 10 to 21 (average age 16.38, SD = 3.04) was recruited from youth-serving organizations. They completed a survey on trauma symptoms, victimization, other adversities, and 16 psychological and social strengths.Almost 9 in 10 (89.3%) youth reported one or more victimizations, with peer victimizations most common. Adult-perpetrated offenses were reported by almost half of youth (47.1%). Although several psychological and social strengths were inversely correlated with trauma symptoms at the bivariate level, hierarchical regressions indicated that a sense of purpose was the only strength that uniquely contributed to more resilient mental health in a model with all strengths and controlling for victimization, other adversities, poverty, age, and gender (total R2 = .33). The variance explained by strengths (17%) was similar to the variance explained by adversities (15%).In this highly victimized sample of youth, many strengths were associated with lower trauma symptoms for youth, with a sense of purpose showing the most promise. Prevention and intervention programs may benefit from efforts to increase a sense of purpose or other meaning making activities, in addition to efforts that specifically target incidents of trauma.
  • Authors

  • Hamby, Sherry
  • Taylor, Elizabeth
  • Mitchell, Kimberly
  • Jones, Lisa
  • Newlin, Chris
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • May 2020
  • Published In


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse
  • Crime Victims
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Trauma
  • United States
  • Young Adult
  • adolescence
  • poly-victimization
  • resilience
  • sense of purpose
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 31986996
  • Start Page

  • 376
  • End Page

  • 395
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 3