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J Interpers Violence. 2013 May;28(8):1642-56. doi: 10.1177/0886260512468320. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Trait impulsivity and change in mental health problems after violent crime victimization: a prospective analysis of the dutch longitudinal internet studies for the social sciences database.

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Leiden University, Faculty of Law, Institute for Criminal Law & Criminology, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Violent crime victimization can have serious mental health consequences, but what it is that makes victims at risk of mental health problems or delayed recovery from such problems is largely unknown. Previous research has focused on, amongst other things, the disabling impact of personality factors involved in the regulation of emotions. Using data from the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) panel (n = 2628), this study explored whether the association between violent crime victimization and change in mental health problems over a 1-year time span also varies by trait impulsivity (TI)--a personality factor involved in regulating behavior. TI may serve as a risk factor for mental health problems, but research into this topic is scarce and inconsistent. Results suggested that low TI subjects are prone to experience an increase in mental health problems following victimization. As a possible explanation for this finding, it was speculated that subjects with low TI do not perceive themselves at risk of victimization and thus see this positive assumption shattered when victimization does occur. Results were further discussed in terms of study limitations and strengths and implications for future research.

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