Sex-Based Differences in Criminal Victimization of Adolescents: A Meta-Analysis

Natasha Pusch, Kristy Holtfreter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While general criminological theories, including low self-control, social bonds, routine activities, and risky lifestyles are increasingly used to explain criminal victimization, there is some evidence these theories may omit important sex differences. To date, the empirical evidence remains mixed, which may be an artifact of methodological differences. This study used three-level meta-analytic methods to assess the use of various predictors derived from criminological theory on a variety of criminal victimization types, sample characteristics, and differences in research design. In a total sample of 166,650 females and 129,988 males in 115 studies using 95 unique datasets of adolescents (average age = 10–19), the meta-analysis revealed that elements of risky lifestyles are largely sex-neutral, while some sex-specific effects of bonds, routine activities, and prior victimization are observed. Implications for criminological theory, developmental and life course research on adolescent victimization, and avenues for prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-28
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Volume50
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Criminological theory
  • Meta-analysis
  • Sex differences
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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