Adolescent victimization and violent self-help

Robert Apel, John D. Burrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A generation of criminological research demonstrates considerable overlap between victim and offender populations. Although there is compelling theoretical and empirical evidence that criminal offenders live a high-risk lifestyle that exposes them to a higher likelihood of becoming victims of crime themselves, we take as a point of departure the possibility that an individual's experiences as a crime victim might also motivate them to engage in certain forms of violent behavior as a form of "self-help." In this study, violent self-help is conceptualized to encompass gang membership, handgun carrying, and aggravated assault. An analysis of data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents (12 years of age at the initial interview) provides support for the proposition that experienced and vicarious victimization are precursors to later violent behavior, even among youth with no history of violent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-133
Number of pages22
JournalYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Law


  • aggravated assault
  • experienced victimization
  • gang membership
  • handgun carrying
  • vicarious victimization


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