Youth victimization in Sweden: prevalence, characteristics and relation to mental health and behavioral problems in young adulthood

Child Abuse Negl. 2014 Aug;38(8):1290-302. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Mar 28.

Abstract

The present study examines multiple types of victimization simultaneously, their prevalence and characteristics in childhood and adolescence, and it examines the associations between victimization and poly-victimization on the one hand and single and multiple mental health and behavioral problems on the other. The sample consisted of 2,500 Swedish young adults (20-24 years) who provided detailed report of multiple types of lifetime victimization and current health and behaviors via an interview and a questionnaire. Results showed that it was more common to be victimized in adolescence than in childhood and more common to be victimized repeatedly rather than a single time, among both males and females. Males and females were victimized in noticeably different ways and partially at different places and by different perpetrators. With regard to mental health and behavioral problems, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, self-harm, and criminality were clearly overrepresented among both males and females who had experienced any type of victimization. Poly-victimization was related to single and multiple mental health and behavioral problems among both males and females. We conclude that professionals need to conduct thorough evaluations of victimization when completing mental health assessments among troubled youths, and that youth might benefit from the development of interventions for poly-victimized youth.

Keywords: Behavioral problems; Child abuse; Child neglect; Mental health problems; Poly-victimization; Violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / psychology*
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Alcoholism
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Child Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crime Victims
  • Criminals / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / epidemiology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult