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Journal Article


Kerig PK. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(5): 789-809.


1 University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)






A recent dramatic rise in girls' arrests has increased our need to examine whether our models of youth justice system involvement need to be differentiated by gender. Polyvictimization, in particular, has been implicated as a powerful predictor of youth problem behavior. However, recent research suggests that polyvictimization is associated with youth involvement in the justice system in ways that differ for girls at the levels of the independent variables (i.e., the sources of risk), the dependent variables (i.e., youth outcomes), and the mediators of these associations (i.e., the purported mechanisms that account for these relations). The present critique describes growth points in the current research with the goal of suggesting promising directions for future investigations. In particular, gaps are noted regarding our understanding of the specific forms of polyvictimization that affect traumatized girls' development, especially given the highly disproportionate prevalence of sexual abuse among justice-involved girls. In addition, increased attention is needed to gender differences in the timing of victimization and the onset of risky behavior, as well as the nature of trauma-linked youth offenses and recidivism, which research also suggests may differ for boys and girls. Furthermore, a new body of research on psychophysiological reactivity promises to shed light on gender differences in trauma response, resilience, and risk. Finally, the importance acknowledging the intersection of polyvictimization, gender, and race is noted. The article ends with a discussion of the ways in which understanding gender differences and similarities can inform gender-responsive approaches to prevention and intervention efforts.

Language: en


PTSD; gender; juvenile justice; mental health and violence; polyvictimization


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