Victimization among African-American adolescents in substance abuse treatment.J Psychoactive Drugs. 2008 Mar; 40(1):67-75.JP
Victimization is regarded as a significant public health issue, especially among adolescents in urban areas. Although victimization is linked to substance use, the research on victimization among adolescents in treatment is underdeveloped. Given the high rate of victimization among African-American adolescents, further research on the prevalence and correlates of victimization for this population is needed. This knowledge can guide the development of effective treatment and prevention strategies. This study contributed to the research by examining the rate and different types of victimization among a sample of African-American adolescents in an urban substance abuse treatment program, testing whether victimization is associated with increased levels of psychopathology and high-risk behaviors; and comparing the rates and associations with existing studies of adolescent victimization. It reports on a sample of 259 African-American adolescents receiving substance abuse treatment in an inner-city program. Fifty-four percent of the subjects reported lifetime victimization. Severity of victimization was associated with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, traumatic stress disorder, and conduct disorder, although the effect sizes were relatively small. Lifetime victimization exhibited a relationship of small to moderate strength with high-risk behaviors (i.e., illegal activity, gang membership, multiple sex partners and unprotected sex). Service implications and recommendations for future research are provided.