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Mental Health Correlates of Criminal Victimization: A Random Community Survey

NCJ Number
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Volume: 53 Issue: 6 Dated: (1985) Pages: 866-873
D G Kilpatrick; C L Best; L J Veronen; A E Amick; L A Villeponteaux; G A Ruff
Date Published
8 pages
A representative sample of 2,004 adult women were interviewed about victimization experiences and mental health problems.
After classification of the women into victimization groups, the occurrence of three mental health problems was compared across type of crime. Rates of 'nervous breakdowns,' suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts were significantly higher for crime victims than for nonvictims. Victims of attempted rape, completed rape, and attempted sexual molestation had problems more frequently than did victims of attempted robbery, completed robbery, aggravated assault, or completed molestation. Problems were not mediated by income and were affected only marginally by age and race. Nearly one rape victim in five (19.2 percent) had attempted suicide, whereas only 2.2 percent of nonvictims had done so. Most sexual assault victims' mental health problems came after their victimization. Findings suggest that crime victims are at risk for the development of major mental health problems, some of which are life threatening in nature. (Publisher abstract)


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