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The Difficulty in Measuring Suitable Targets When Modeling Victimization

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Target suitability is a critical theoretical concept for opportunity theory. Previous research has primarily measured this concept using demographic characteristics of the study participant, which is problematic. This study corrects the measurement problem by employing bullying variables as alternative measures of target suitability because they are arguably better at capturing the social and psychological vulnerability of the individual that is attracting motivated offenders. Using three waves (1999, 2001, & 2003) of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) School Crime Supplement (SCS), this research explores the impact of the bullying measures along with demographic characteristics and lifestyle measures on the likelihood that a student will experience victimization in school. The findings suggest that the bullying measures are better predictors of victimization over the demographic characteristics and lifestyle measures for all three waves. The findings highlight the need for better measures of target suitability, which capture the social and psychological vulnerability of victims to explain victimization.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Violence and Victims discusses theory, research, policy, and clinical practice in the area of interpersonal violence and victimization across such disciplines as psychology, sociology, criminology, law, medicine, nursing, psychiatry, and social work.

    The journal's 2014 Impact Factor is 0.858.
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