The purpose of this study was not only to understand different types of girls' exposure to multiple forms of victimization, but to also understand factors such as trajectory of risk over the lifespan, dependence of different forms of exposure, and ways that cumulative impacts influence life outcomes.
This study used lifespan data on girls' victimization and juvenile offending to: examine range, diversity, and co-occurrence of different types of violence over the course of girls' lives, identifying strength and dynamics of relationships among forms of exposure; examine independent, relative, and cumulative trajectories of risk for varied types of victimization over the lifespan, including critical periods of risk; examine additional ecological factors (e.g., family conflict, parental addiction) as these relate to victimization; and to examine the relationship of victimization to nature and chronicity of girls' offending.
The sample consisted of 100 girls adjudicated delinquent through the South Carolina Juvenile Justice system (SCDJJ) and up to one primary caregiver for each girl. Key victimization and offending constructs from girls' interviews were conceptualized in several ways, including (1) binary presence/absence coding of whether the girl experienced the event in question, (2) time-to-onset coding to indicate age at which the girl first experienced the event, and (3) duration and frequency coding to indicate number of years or number of incidents of the event. Qualitative transcripts were coded and analyzed using ATLAS/ti software. A first-cycle coding method was used with provisional top-down coding based on categories of items in girls' interviews. This approach allowed for identifying specific exemplars to illustrate findings revealed in quantitative analysis of girls' interview data.
Life History Calendars were used in conjunction with the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire to examine co-occurrence of multiple forms of abuse and develop a comprehensive view of girls' subjective experiences. The Juvenile Victimization questionnaire was used to measure exposure to violence. It included items on child maltreatment, gang violence, dating violence and sexual victimization among other things.
The Life History Calendar is an established research tool designed to optimize accuracy in collection of event timing/sequencing data. The LHC method uses a calendar-like matrix, providing visual cues said to enhance both interviewee and interviewer performance. Column headings typically denote years or ages, while row headings denote categories of life events. At the outset of the interview, the interviewer explained the calendar and mapped memorable life experiences (e.g., schools, grades, living arrangements, neighborhoods) with the respondent's help. These salient cues then provided a temporal context for recalling events that may be less salient in time (e.g., "The abuse happened when I was in third grade living with my aunt").
Caregivers who chose to participate completed the caregiver report on their girl's experiences. Archival data was also used through the South Carolina Budget and Control Board's Data Warehouse, an integrated data system tapping legal and safety services, social services, physical and mental health services, claims systems, and education.
Prospective participants were identified via the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice database with frequent updates from intake rosters. An exhaustive sampling of incoming girls over a multi-year period was conducted in order to obtain a sample of girls from the facilities. In Datasets 1 and 2, the sample consisted of 100 girls adjudicated delinquent through SCDJJ and up to one primary caregiver for each girl. Prospective participants were identified via the SCDJJ database with frequent updates from intake rosters.
For Dataset 3, caregiver survey responses, participant files were used to identify one primary caregiver for each girl who participated in the study, and mailed surveys were sent to one caregiver for each participant.
For Datasets 4 and 5, case and archive information, data were pulled from the South Carolina Budget and Control Board's Data Warehouse for only the juvenile participants in the study.
All juvenile girls adjudicated delinquent in the state of South Carolina between 2006 and 2009.
administrative records data
The qualitative data covered topics about school delinquency, household composition, experiences, and discipline and included key variables such as: having ever experienced caregiver violence, gang violence, dating violence, sexual violence, witnessing/indirect violence, or having ever engaged in alcohol or drug use, stealing, running away, fighting or aggression, or prostitution. There are 110 Interview Transcripts (Dataset 1), and 110 Life History Calendars (Dataset 2).
In Dataset 3, the Caregiver Survey Data, variables consisted of the same sample of questions asked in the interviews with respondents. These variables captured trauma history such as if the girl had ever experienced or witnessed: caregiver/adult violence, caregiver/adult sexual assault, caregiver/adult physical assault, or close family/friends murder/assault. Dataset 3 includes 28 variables and 114 cases.
Dataset 4, Department of Juvenile Justice Case Administrative Data, is a combination of archival information from the South Carolina Budget and Control Board's Data Warehouse. From these records, respondents' demographic information including: sex, race, county of residence, special needs, grade in school, marital status, drug use, parental status, living status, employment status, number of people living in home. There are also variables describing parent and sibling prior criminal history and a variable on client prior history. Dataset 4 includes 100 cases and 21 variables.
Dataset 5, Department of Juvenile Justice Charges Administrative Data, consists of variables including: offense date, referral date, code/description of charges, judicial decision, result of decision, disposition dates, and disposition results (coded and descriptive). Dataset 5 includes 66 variables and 917 cases.
Participation rates were 32 percent for caregivers and 98 percent for eligible girls.
Life History Calendar method (Freedman, Thornton, Camburn, Alwin, and Young-DeMarco, 1988).
Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (Hamby, Finkelhor, Ormrod, and Turner, 2004).
Turner Non-Victimization Adversity Measures (Turner, Finkelhor, and Ormrod, 2006).