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J Interpers Violence. 2017 Nov 1:886260517744184. doi: 10.1177/0886260517744184. [Epub ahead of print]

Poly-Victimization and Coping Profiles: Relationship With Externalizing Symptoms in Adolescents.

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1 Universidad Santo Tomas, ViƱa del Mar, Chile.
2 Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.


Externalizing symptoms correspond to a set of behavioral problems related to aggressiveness and the violation of norms. These disorders are common during adolescence, especially in poly-victimized populations. However, not much is known about the mechanism underlying the relationship between poly-victimization and symptoms or about the factors that could play a protective role in this relationship. It is necessary to understand the factors that influence the development of these disorders to prevent them. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships among coping strategies, poly-victimization, and externalizing symptoms. The participants were 144 adolescent outpatients ( M = 14.31, SD = 1.48) attending child and adolescent mental health services. The participants responded to three scales that examined their coping strategies, poly-victimization levels, and externalizing symptoms. The results showed that both poly-victimization and nonproductive coping were directly associated with externalizing symptomatology. In contrast, coping in reference to others and productive coping had inverse relationships with externalizing symptoms. Finally, the results of a cluster analysis revealed three groups of adolescents with different coping strategy profiles. The group with the least externalizing symptomatology was the "active-balanced" group (high use of coping in reference to others and productive coping combined with moderate use of nonproductive coping). The group with the greatest symptomatology was the "lonely" group (high use of productive and nonproductive coping but low use of coping in reference to others). The results suggest that poly-victimization and style of coping has an impact on the development of externalizing problems. These results may be useful for designing programs to prevent or treat externalizing disorders in adolescents.


adolescence; clinical sample; coping strategies; externalizing; poly-victimization


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