Poly-victimisation in Polish adolescents
: a study of risk and resilience

  • Faye Riley

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Youth who face exposure to multiple, different types of victimisations have been labeled ‘poly-victims’. This thesis aimed to evaluate factors associated with poly-victimisation risk and resilience in Polish adolescents. The first study employed a cross-sectional, multi-informant survey to examine poly-victimisation prevalence and risk factors within an ecological framework. Participants were 454 adolescents aged 13-19 years from an urban-region of Poland. A high proportion (35.6%) were categorised as poly-victims (≥ 6 different past-year victimisations). Risks from individual, relationship, family and community levels were found to increase the odds of poly-victimisation, highlighting the need to adopt a holistic approach to prevention. The second study (using the same sample as Study 1) aimed to explore coping as a source of resilience in poly-victims, using a self-report cross-sectional survey. Results revealed greater use of problem-solving coping moderated the negative impact of poly-victimisation on emotional well-being, and may foster resilience. To develop an understanding of the casual relationships between previously studied variables, Study 3 adopted a longitudinal design. 207 participants repeated surveys from Studies 1 and 2, approximately one-year later. Using cross-lagged analysis, it was found T1 risks positively predicted poly-victimisation at T2, after controlling for prior victimisation. Moreover, a significant moderating effect of problem-solving coping was found between T1 poly-victimisation and T2 emotional well-being, when controlling for prior well-being. Disruptive and withdrawn behaviour, and negative affect were shown to have reciprocal associations with poly-victimisation. Finally, Study 4 aimed to test the victim schema model to explore mechanisms underlying poly-victimisation. Using a quasi-experimental design, socio-emotional processing and poly-victimisation was evaluated in 73 Polish adolescents, aged 12-16 years. Poly-victims displayed significantly greater hostile attribution bias, a stronger implicit association with the victim role, poorer access to adaptive emotion regulation strategies and selected more anti-social responses, compared to non-victims. Findings provide partial support for the victim schema model as a potential theoretical basis for the development and perpetuation of poly-victimisation. Collectively, the findings of this thesis have important implications regarding poly-victimisation risk assessment, prevention and resilience training.
Date of Award15 May 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorCecilia Essau (Supervisor) & Mark Wright (Supervisor)

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