The relationship between socio-economic inequality and criminal victimization: a prospective study.

T.D. Wohlfarth, F.W. Winkel

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Background: This study investigates the relationship of socio-economic inequality (SEI) with criminal victimisation. It is hypothesised that disadvantage in terms of SEI is associated with increased risk of being victimised and with increased distress following victimisation. Two concepts of SEI are applied: social class (measured in terms of relation to work) and SES (measured in terms of education). Method: A representative sample of the Dutch population, comprising 3446 individuals, was followed up and incident crime victims were identified (n=179). A matched comparison group was recruited from the same sample (n=266). SEI and potential vulnerability measures were taken at baseline. Distress was measured 1 week following victimisation and at 1-month intervals for the following consecutive 3 months. Results: The probability of becoming victimised was significantly higher among the unemployed and (unexpectedly) among persons with higher education. The unemployed also showed an increased vulnerability for distress following victimisation compared to all other class categories. This increased vulnerability could not be explained by differences in style of information processing, locus of control, hardiness, need for affiliation, or social support. Conclusion: The limitations of the study are discussed and recommendations with respect to the special attention required for unemployed persons are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-370
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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