Childhood Victimization, Poly-Victimization and Perceived Family Environment
in Jail-Incarcerated Women
Alyson Faires, Masterís in Psychology program, Clinical-Counseling Psychology Concentration
(Sponsoring faculty member: Dr. Ann Elliott
Previous research has indicated that childhood victimization is associated with psychological distress and dysfunctional family systems. Evidence also suggests that family environment plays a role in psychological functioning and how victims of abuse cope with their distress (Briere & Elliott, 1994). Further, those who report low levels of cohesion and high levels of conflict, as measured by the Family Environment Scale (Gold, Hyman, & Andres-Hyman, 2004; Messman-Moore & Brown, 2004), often report dysfunctional family environments. Family environment may also be predictive of an increased risk for polyvictimization (i.e., exposure to high levels of multiple types of victimization) which, in turn, is predictive of increased trauma symptoms (Finkelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2007a). This study investigated the relative contribution of six types of childhood victimization and poly-victimization in predicting two subscales of the Family Environment Scale (Cohesion and Conflict). Hierarchical regression analyses using survey data from 126 jail-incarcerated women showed that poly-victimization added relatively large and statistically significant percentages of variability accountedfor to multiple regression equations predicting FES scores after the six categories of victimization had already been entered as a first block of predictors.
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