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Polyvictimization Prevalence Rates for Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents: Breaking Down the Silos of Victimization Research

NCJ Number
Date Published
Paul R. Sterzing, Rachel E. Gartner, Jeremy T. Goldbach, Briana L. McGeough, Allen G. Ratliff, Kelly C. Johnson
Publication Type
The goal of this study was to identify lifetime polyvictimization rates by gender identity and sexual orientation for a national sample of sexual and gender minority adolescents.
This study conducted an anonymous, incentivized, online survey, which was completed by 1,177 sexual and gender minority adolescents who were currently enrolled in middle or high school (14 to 19 years old). The survey determined that most of the sample experienced some form of lifetime physical assault (81.3 percent), bullying victimization (88.8 percent), sexual victimization (80.6 percent), child maltreatment (78.8 percent), property victimization (80.1 percent), and indirect or witnessed forms of victimization (75.0 percent). The overall rate of polyvictimization for the sample was 41.3 percent. Genderqueer assigned male at birth (65.4 percent), transgender female (63.2 percent), transgender male (57.4 percent), genderqueer assigned female at birth (55.0 percent), and cisgender female (39.3 percent) adolescents were significantly more likely to be lifetime polyvictimized than their cisgender male counterparts (31.1 percent). In addition, pansexual (56.8 percent), queer (52.0 percent), questioning (47.0 percent), and bisexual (45.8 percent) participants were significantly more likely to be lifetime polyvictimized than their gay-identified counterparts (32.7 percent). This is the first study to identify lifetime polyvictimization rates for sexual and gender minority adolescents. These findings call into question the practice of studying single forms of victimization for this population as if they occur in isolation to one another. Future research is needed to identify the shared risk and protective factors across victimization subtypes to inform prevention and intervention strategies for this vulnerable adolescent population. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Created: November 24, 2019