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Young Adult Victimization and Midlife Consequences: Sensitization or Steeling Effects of Childhood Adversity?

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The interrelationship between victimization, violence, and substance use/abuse has been well established, yet those who experience victimization do not necessarily respond with violence or substance use or escalate to experiencing substance abuse symptoms. Drawing on literature from both the syndemic research from medical anthropology and the resilience research from psychology, this study examines the interaction between early childhood adversity and young adult violent victimization on later substance use/abuse and violent offending to provide insight into conditional effects. Data are derived from the Woodlawn Study, an African American cohort of men and women from a socioeconomically heterogeneous community in the South Side of Chicago, who were followed from first grade through age 42. Results indicate that those with lower levels of childhood adversity are more likely to suffer the negative consequences of violent victimization than those with higher childhood adversity, providing support for a "steeling" effect.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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