Variables affecting adolecent victimization: Findings from a National Youth Survey

Gideon Fishman, Gustavo S. Mesch, Zvi Eisikovits

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The purpose of this study Is to investigate the link between offending and victimization among an adolescent population. Data from the 1998 Israeli National Youth Survey are used to test two conflicting hypotheses. One, derived from the extensive literature on bullying behavior, suggests that there is a clear distinction between those who commit acts of aggression and those who are on the receiving end. The other, which is the more criminologically sound and draws on the subcultural approach, holds that those involved in aggressive behavior also have a higher likelihood of becoming victims of aggression. The findings show that engaging in aggressive behavior increases the likelihood of being on the receiving end. Adolescents reporting that they had slapped or hit their friends were also more likely to be victims. The high association between victimization and aggressive conduct can be explained by the simple fact that when people are hit or insulted they are most likely to hit back in order to defend themselves. However, there is a distinct category of youth that does not report aggressive conduct, and who also seem to have a low probability of becoming victims. This might cast some doubt about the approach that tends to imply that a division of labor exists between perpetrators and victims. The findings also provide support for the subculture of violence approach and the proximity hypothesis. Adolescents who know delinquent peers and live in neighborhoods where violence against children is common are more likely to be victims of both verbal and physical aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWestern Criminology Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Bullying
  • Criminality
  • Delinquency
  • National Youth Survey
  • Victiminization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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