The impact of direct victimization, indirect victimization, and victimization among peers in the USA

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Research suggests that many adolescents involved in violence as victims become offenders themselves as they are exposed to increased levels of indirect victimization, direct victimization, and peer victimization. While there is a connection between witnessing events, the actual attack with guns, and peer violence, all of which have an effect on delinquent behavior, less is known about whether this relationship differs by age and gender.

Survey instruments (e.g. questionnaires) completed by 500 lower socioeconomic African American youth between the ages of 12 and 18 in the state of Virginia were gathered to explain youth delinquency, namely committing a crime with a gun, as an effect of exposure to violence and peer victimization. A hierarchical regression analysis shows that direct exposure as a measure of victimization is the greatest predictor of offending while correlations between victimization and delinquency are all statistically significant. 

These understandings of distinct risk factors among urban Black adolescents can be used to explain delinquent outcomes and anti-social behavior. Future studies examining the interrelationship between exposure and violence as a victim and repeated exposure to violence as an offender should address the extent to which these variables differ by age and gender as prevention strategies continue to be implemented.

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