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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2003 Jun;71(3):528-39.

Gender, victimization, and outcomes: reconceptualizing risk.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, USA.


Large-scale studies of gender differences in psychopathological reactions to victimization have focused on posttraumatic stress disorder, overlooking other trauma-related disorders. The present study expands this literature with a contextualized examination of interpersonal aggression exposure and sequelae. Using k-means cluster analysis on a sample of 16,000, the authors identified 8 distinct profiles of exposure to sexual violence, physical assault, stalking, and emotional abuse. Analyses of covariance then suggested links among victimization profile, gender, and mental and physical health. Results revealed no meaningful interactive effects of gender and interpersonal aggression on outcomes, once lifetime exposure to aggressive events was adequately taken into account. These findings argue against theories of female victims' greater vulnerability to pathological outcomes, instead linking risk to exposure history.

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