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Violent Victimization of Youth With Mental Disorders: Does Lifestyles/Routine Activities or Control Perspectives Mediate the Relationship Between Mental Illness and Victimization?

Youth with mental disorders, especially those involved in the criminal justice system, experience violent victimization at greater rates when compared to the general population. Despite this, few studies examine mediating factors drawn from criminological theory to explain ...

Published onFeb 23, 2024
Violent Victimization of Youth With Mental Disorders: Does Lifestyles/Routine Activities or Control Perspectives Mediate the Relationship Between Mental Illness and Victimization?
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 Abstract

Youth with mental disorders, especially those involved in the criminal justice system, experience violent victimization at greater rates when compared to the general population. Despite this, few studies examine mediating factors drawn from criminological theory to explain why this population experiences victimization at greater rates than the general population, nor identifies factors that explain differential risk for violent victimization based on disorder type. Using the Pathways to Desistance Study, a longitudinal study of 1,354 adjudicated adolescent offenders, direct and indirect effects of factors drawn from lifestyles/routine activities and control perspectives using path analyses are estimated to understand if they mediate the relationship between two different disorder types (mood and substance usage/dependence disorders) and violent victimization. For both disorder types, direct and indirect effects of proximity to motivated offenders significantly increased the odds of victimization and fully mediated the relationship between disorder type and victimization. Mechanisms linking mood and substance usage disorders to victimization suggest that this population are more likely to be victimized because of key elements connected to lifestyles/routine activities theory. Control perspectives, on the other hand, did not mediate the relationship between mental illness and violent victimization. Implications for interventions, theory, and future research are discussed.

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