A large body of research links victimization to various harms. Yet it remains unclear how the effects of victimization vary over the life course, or why some victims are more likely to experience negative outcomes than others. Accordingly, this study seeks to advance the literature and inform victim service interventions by examining the effects of violent victimization and social ties on multiple behavioral, psychological, and health-related outcomes across three distinct stages of the life course: adolescence, early adulthood, and adulthood. Specifically, I ask two primary questions: 1) are the consequences of victimization age-graded? And 2) are the effects of social ties in mitigating the consequences of victimization age-graded?
Existing data from Waves I (1994-1995), III (2001-2002), and IV (2008-2009) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) are used. The Add Health is a nationally-representative sample of over 20,000 American adolescents enrolled in middle and high school during the 1994-1995 school year. On average, respondents are 15 years of age at Wave I (11-18 years), 22 years of age at Wave III (ranging from 18 to 26 years), and 29 years of age at Wave IV (ranging from 24 to 32 years). Multivariate regression models (e.g., ordinary least-squares, logistic, and negative binomial models) are used to assess the effects of violent victimization on the various behavioral, social, psychological, and health-related outcomes at each wave of data. Two-stage sample selection models are estimated to examine whether social ties explain variation in these outcomes among a subsample of victims at each stage of the life course.
The results indicate that the negative consequences of victimization vary considerably across different stages of the life course, and that the spectrum of negative outcomes linked to victimization narrows into adulthood. The effects of social ties appear to be age-graded as well, where ties are more protective for victims of violence in adolescence and adulthood than they are in early adulthood. These patterns of findings are discussed in light of their implications for continued theoretical development, future empirical research, and the creation of public policy concerning victimization.