Child mental health problems as risk factors for victimization.

Academic Article


  • The current study examines the effects of child internalizing and externalizing symptoms on increases in victimization over a 1-year period. Using longitudinal data from the Developmental Victimization Survey (DVS), analyses are based on a national probability sample of 1,467 children aged 2-17. Results indicate that children with high levels of co-occurring internalizing and externalizing symptoms were particularly likely to experience increased exposure to several forms of victimization, including peer victimization, maltreatment, and sexual victimization, controlling for earlier victimization and adversity. The relationship of symptoms to victimization exposure differed across developmental stage. Elementary school-age children with high levels of symptoms were especially vulnerable to victimization by peers, whereas distressed youth in early adolescence were particularly vulnerable to sexual victimization. Mental health problems in childhood and adolescence appear to represent important risk factors for increased victimization. Future interventions might consider targeting youth with co-occurring internalizing and externalizing symptoms during especially vulnerable developmental stages.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • May 2010
  • Published In

  • Child Maltreatment  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Child
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Abuse, Sexual
  • Child Behavior Disorders
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Crime Victims
  • Depressive Disorder
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Behavior
  • United States
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 19812391
  • Start Page

  • 132
  • End Page

  • 143
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 2