A Study of Short- and Long-Term Effects of Family Characteristics on Victimization Risk

Christopher J. Schreck, Illinois State University
Bonnie Fisher, University of Cincinnati
J. Mitchell Miller, University of South Carolina

ABSTRACT
This research investigates the influence of family conditions on general victimization risk. Victimization research has typically looked upon the family as a context in which victimization occurs, but has seldom considered the broader significance of the family for determining the risk of victimization. In light of the similarity between the sources of offending and victimization, we believe that the family may be an important determinant of victimization risk in both the short- and long-term, just as it is for criminal behavior. Routine activities theory may help explain how family conditions can influence victimization risk in the short term. Recent developments in victimization theory suggest that family conditions during childhood can have a long-term effect on risk as well. We use the 1976 and 1983 waves of the National Youth Survey to determine whether the family actually plays such an extensive part in victimization risk. If the family does have a long-term effect, then our results have important implications for the development of victimization theory.

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Updated 05/20/2006