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Adjusting to Criminal Victimization: The Correlates of Postcrime Distress

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1996) Pages: 21-38
Date Published
18 pages
This study explored the correlates of immediate and short- term psychological distress among victims of burglary, robbery, and nonsexual assault.
A panel design was used. Crime victims were interviewed within 1 month after the crime and again 3 months later. Four sets of predictors were examined: demographics, previctimization adjustment and stress, features of the crime incident, and victims' perceptions. Measures of distress included a range of standard indexes of adjustment and symptomatology. Demographic characteristics and victim perceptions accounted for the greatest proportions of variance in the outcome measures at Time 1 and Time 2. The strongest predictors of psychological adjustment at the end of 3 months included adjustment after 1 month, education, victim injury, victims' beliefs that their lives had been endangered during the crime episode, and victims' appraisals of the world as meaningful. These findings suggest the therapeutic usefulness of encouraging victims to rethink or reinterpret the event in ways that will restore their beliefs in the meaningfulness of the world. 5 notes, 3 tables, and 88 references

Date Published: January 1, 1996