Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Sociology

Supervisor(s)

Dr. Rachel Margolis

Abstract

This study addresses several methodological and theoretical gaps in extant literature that has examined victimization and its correlation with resultant mental health outcomes. The 2009 Canadian GSS Victimization [cycle 23] survey, comprising of 19,422 participants aged 15 years or older, was used to examine: (1) the extent to which different forms of victimization are related to stress, psychological well-being (i.e., self-report mental health and life satisfaction), and substance abuse behavior; (2) whether stress acts as a mediator in the relationship between victimization and mental health outcome measures; (3) if low total household income moderates the association between victimization and mental health. It was found that several types of victimization significantly predicted greater levels of stress, poorer self-report mental health and lower levels of life satisfaction, as well as greater odds of engaging in alcohol and drug use behavior. It was also determined that perceived stress mediates (either fully or partially) the relationship between some forms of victimization and psychological well-being (i.e., measurement of self-report mental health and life satisfaction, but not substance abuse). Although very limited support is found for the third hypothesis, it was determined that low THI modifies the association between physical/sexual assault and life satisfaction to predict a stronger negative correlation, compared to the main effect; low THI modifies the association between personal victimization and high alcohol use to predict a stronger positive correlation. Agnew’s General Strain Theory (1992), Pearlin’s Stress Process (1981), and the causation hypothesis are used to inform the discussion of results. Future research/policy directions are discussed.


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