Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Amy L. Anderson


The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the manner in which different types of prior victimization affect juveniles’ offense type. There is a strong relationship between victimization and offending, meaning that victims are more likely to be offenders and offenders are more likely to be victims, but the exact nature of this relationship remains imprecise. Youth with a history of victimization have an increased risk of delinquency and justice system involvement during adolescence and adulthood. Additionally, a majority of incarcerated youth report having experienced at least one type of victimization before their system involvement and youths’ victimization experiences tend to differ by gender. Many scholars have argued that victimization elicits unique effects on females’ illicit behavior and pathways into criminal behavior but the empirical research regarding the gendered effects of victimization on offending are mixed. This dissertation seeks to explore the relationships between justice-involved youths’ prior victimization experiences and their current criminal behavior using the Survey of Youth in Residential Placement (SYRP) 2003 (Sedlak, 2003). The SYRP is currently the only large-scale, nationally representative sample that collects detailed information directly from justice-involved youth about their prior victimization experiences. One of the primary goals of this dissertation is to determine whether youth with a history of victimization are involved in the justice system for different offenses than non-victimized youth. I will also examine whether different types of victimization and polyvictimization are related to specific forms of offending or a variety of offenses. Finally, I will examine whether the effects of different victimization types on different offense categories are the same for males and females while controlling for other relevant factors known to influence delinquency. Overall, justice-involved youth with a history of victimization were more likely to be system-involved for violent offenses, while youths without a history of victimization were more likely to be involved for minor, non-violent offenses. I found that different types of victimization were related to specific forms of offending rather than general delinquency, and that these relationships varied by gender.


Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Major: Criminology and Criminal Justice Under the Supervision of Dr. Amy L. Anderson Omaha, Nebraska April, 2018.

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