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    Polyvictimization and psychopathology among children and adolescents: A systematic review of studies using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire

    Haahr-Pedersen, Ida and Ershadi, Afrodite Emma and Hyland, Philip and Hansen, Maj and Perera, Camila and Sheaf, Greg and Bramsen, Rikke H. and Spitz, Pernille and Vallières, Frédérique (2020) Polyvictimization and psychopathology among children and adolescents: A systematic review of studies using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire. Child Abuse & Neglect, 107 (104589). ISSN 0145-2134

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    Background: Exposure to child abuse can lead to lasting mental health problems. Extant research has found that different types of child abuse tend to co-occur and overlap, which merits the investigation of the effects of exposure to multiple types of childhood mistreatment. Objective: The aim of this study was to systematically review the evidence on the associations between multiple different types of interpersonal victimization or polyvictimization, and indicators of psychopathology among children ages 0–17. Methods: The review included studies across all economic strata and research on nationally representative, community, and at-risk samples, using the same standardized assessment tool (i.e. the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire or JVQ). The review was conducted using peer-reviewed evidence published up until August 2019 from Scopus, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Medline, CINAHL, and ERIC. Out of 4998 relevant references screened, 255 met the inclusion criteria, 22 of which aimed to address childhood polyvictimization and psychopathology. Results: A total of 21 of the 22 included studies identified a significant positive association between polyvictimization and various indicators of psychopathology comprising both externalizing (e.g. anger), internalizing problems (e.g. depression) and total psychological distress. A range of studies demonstrated that polyvictimization was a stronger risk factor for psychopathology than individual (sub)types of victimization. Based on the study findings, we provide a set of recommendations for future research on polyvictimization and psychopathology. Conclusion: The present systematic review was the first to review the evidence on the associations between polyvictimization (as measured by the JVQ) and child and adolescent psychopathology in the global research literature. As a novel approach, the present review included both normative and high-risk samples. The results showed that polyvictimization is a substantial risk factor for mental health problems spanning both inner-directed and outer-directed mental health difficulties. However, the inconsistency in methods of defining and measuring polyvictimization severely undermines the scientific impact of this body of work. Additional well-designed, longitudinal studies that take account of the context-specific nature of polyvictimization are required to better establish the causal relationships between childhood polyvictimization and psychopathology so as to improve prevention and intervention efforts.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Published under a Creative Commons license Cite as: Ida Haahr-Pedersen, Afrodite Emma Ershadi, Philip Hyland, Maj Hansen, Camila Perera, Greg Sheaf, Rikke Holm Bramsen, Pernille Spitz, Frédérique Vallières, Polyvictimization and psychopathology among children and adolescents: A systematic review of studies using the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire, Child Abuse & Neglect, Volume 107, 2020, 104589, ISSN 0145-2134, (
    Keywords: Polyvictimization; The Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire; JVQ; Child; Adolescent; Psychopathology;
    Academic Unit: Assisting Living & Learning,ALL institute
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 15135
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Philip Hyland
    Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 16:41
    Journal or Publication Title: Child Abuse & Neglect
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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