Abstract: The Association of Childhood Polyvictimization with Physical and Mental Health Status in Early Adulthood: A Retrospective Study (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

199P The Association of Childhood Polyvictimization with Physical and Mental Health Status in Early Adulthood: A Retrospective Study

Friday, January 18, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Yusun Cho, MA, PhD candidate, University of Southern California, CA
Ahyoung Song, PhD, Assistant professor, Gachon University, Seongnam-si, Korea, Republic of (South)
Sejeong Cheong, PhD, Lecturer, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Focusing on a single type of violence and its influence on child development outcomes could overestimate the association between them. The likelihood of experiencing of other types of violence increases for a child who is exposed to one kind of violence and children who experience multiple types of violence are particularly at risk. Studies have been published to examine if polyvictimization caused or associated with more deleterious and harmful outcomes but most of them were conducted in the context of western countries like US and other European counties. Although a few studies were published in the context of Asian culture, studies on polyvictimization in South Korea, where the prevalence of child abuse is relatively high, have only rarely been published. This study aimed to investigate the association between childhood polyvictimization and health outcomes in adulthood in Korea.

Data are derived from the 2012 Korean General Social Survey (KGSS) conducted by the Survey Research Center in South Korea. This study capped the range of early adulthood at 39 years of age and as a result, the final sample of 18-39-year-olds for the analyses of this study totaled 408 individuals. The KGSS classifies violence into six categories; (1) witnessing of violence; (2) severe physical abuse; (3) minor physical abuse; (4) emotional abuse; (5) neglect; (6) sexual abuse. Following previous studies, this study also adopted this top 10% standard to identify the polyvictimized group. As a result, in this study, individuals who experienced five or more types of violence were categorized into the polyvictimization group. Three health outcomes, with depression and lifetime suicidal ideation, and self-rated health in adulthood were utilized as dependent variables.

This study found that 8.33% (n=34) were polyvictimized and 37.50% reported no violence victimization experience. As for number of victimizations by gender, 71.86% of males experienced at least one form of victimization during childhood, and 9.05% of males reported five types of victimization or more. For females, 53.59% reported one type of victimization or more during childhood, and 7.66% were exposed to polyvictimization. According to chi testing and ANOVA, the association between childhood polyvictimization and adult health status was statistically significant at the 99% confidence interval across most of the health outcomes (p<.001). Those with experience of polyvictimization reported severe depression, poorer self-rated health, and a higher rate of suicidal ideation compared to those with no to four types of victimization. These findings are consistent with the results for both males and females. It is noteworthy that females who were polyvictimized under 18 years of age reported a much higher rate of suicidal ideation (62.5%) compared to males (33.33%). Furthermore, it is important to note that polyvictimized females reported a considerably higher rate of depression compared to other groups.

Findings indicate the importance of taking into account the lasting associations of polyvictimization in childhood with health even into adulthood, for practice and policy level.