Internalizing symptoms of Italian youth directly and vicariously victimized at school and at home

A.C. Baldry, F.W. Winkel

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Internalizing symptoms, such as depression, anxiety/withdrawal, as well as somatic complaints are indicators
of maladjustment. Mental and physical complaints may be related to victimization at home and at school. In
the present study we investigated the independent impact of direct victimization at home (parental severe
scolding and physical harming) and at school (i.e. peers physical and verbal bullying) and that of indirect
victimization at home (i.e. exposure to interparental violence), and at school (exclusion, spreading rumors)
on the development of internalizing symptoms in a sample of 661 Italian youngsters. Results revealed an
overall high rate of reported victimization; direct and indirect victimization at home and at school were
significantly associated with internalizing symptoms. Hierarchical regression analyses, conducted separately
for boys and girls, showed that the strongest risk factor for both boys and girls for all forms of internalizing
symptoms is being indirectly victimized at school; for girls another significant risk factor is exposure to
mother’s violence against the father (for withdrawal); whereas for boys it is father’s violence against the
child predicting somatic complaints. Implications for mental health practitioners are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-91
JournalInternational Journal of Forensic Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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