Advertisement

Mental Health in Violent Crime Victims: Does Sexual Orientation Matter?

  • Robert J. Cramer
  • Dale E. McNiel
  • Sarah R. Holley
  • Martha Shumway
  • Alicia Boccellari
Original Article

Abstract

The present study investigates victim sexual orientation in a sample of 641 violent crime victims seeking emergency medical treatment at a public-sector hospital. Victim sexual orientation was examined as it: (a) varies by type of violent crime and demographic characteristics, (b) directly relates to psychological symptoms, and (c) moderates the relationship between victim and crime characteristics (i.e., victim gender, victim trauma history, and type of crime) and psychological symptoms (i.e., symptoms of acute stress, depression, panic, and general anxiety). Results showed that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) victims were more likely to be victims of sexual assault. Heterosexual victims were more likely to be victims of general assault and shootings. LGBT victims demonstrated significantly higher levels of acute stress and general anxiety. Moreover, victim sexual orientation moderated the association of type of crime with experience of panic symptoms. Also, victim sexual orientation moderated the relation of victim trauma history and general anxiety symptoms. Results are discussed in relation to victimization prevalence rates, sexual prejudice theory, and assessment and treatment of violent crime victims.

Keywords

Sexual orientation LGBT victim Violent crime Anxiety Sexual assault 

Notes

Acknowledgment

The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Jennifer Alvidrez for her valuable input on the manuscript.

References

  1. Alvidrez, J., Shumway, M., Kelly, V., Smart, S., Gelb, M., Okin, R. L., …Boccellari, A. (2008). Which low-income urban crime victims use trauma-focused case management and psychotherapy services? Journal of Loss and Trauma, 13, 288–302. doi: 10.1080/15325020701279782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boccellari, A., Alvidrez, J., Shumway, M., Kelly, V., Merrill, G., Gelb, M., …Okin, R. L. (2007). Characteristics and psychosocial needs of victims of violent crime identified at a public-sector hospital: Data from a large clinical trial. General Hospital Psychiatry, 29, 236–243. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2007.01.008.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bryant, R. A., Moulds, M. L., & Guthrie, R. M. (2000). Acute stress disorder scale: A self-report measure of acute stress disorder. Psychological Assessment, 12, 61–68. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.12.1.61.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2009). Victim characteristics. Accessed November 28, 2010 from http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=92.
  5. Chen, Y., & Ullman, S. E. (2010). Women’s reporting of sexual and physical assaults to police in the National Violence Against Women’s Survey. Violence Against Women, 16, 262–279.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheng, Z. (2004). Hate crimes, posttraumatic stress disorder and implications for counseling lesbians and gay men. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 35, 8–9. doi: 10.1177/1077801209360861.Google Scholar
  7. Cisler, J. M., Bacon, A. K., & Williams, N. L. (2009). Phenomenological characteristics of attentional biases towards threat: A critical review. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33, 221–234. doi: 10.1007/s10608-007-9161-y.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Cramer, R. J., Chandler, J. F., & Wakeman, E. E. (2010). Attribution of blame as a moderator of assigning the death penalty in sexual-orientation based crimes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 848–862.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. D’Augelli, A. R. (1992). Lesbian and gay male undergraduates’ experiences of harassment and fear on campus. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 7, 383–395. doi: 10.1177/088626092007003007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. D’Augelli, A. R. (2006). Childhood sex atypicality, victimization, and PTSD among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 1462–1482. doi: 10.1177/0886260506293482.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. D’Augelli, A. R., & Grossman, A. H. (2001). Disclosure of sexual orientation, victimization, and mental health among lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 1008–1027. doi: 10.1177/088626001016010003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. D’Augelli, A. R., Grossman, A. H., & Starks, M. T. (2006). Childhood gender atypicality, victimization, and PTSD among gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 1462–1482. doi: 10.1177/0886260506293482.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. D’Augelli, A. R., Pilkington, N. W., & Hershberger, S. L. (2002). Incidence and mental health impact of sexual orientation victimization among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths in high school. School Psychology Quarterly, 14, 148–167. doi: 10.1521/scpq.17.2.148.20854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. DeCoster, J. (2006). Testing group differences using T-tests, ANOVA, and nonparametric measures. Accessed November 30, 2010 from http://www.stat-help.com/ANOVA%202006-01-11.pdf.
  16. Department of Justice. (1994). Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act fact sheet. Accessed November 25, 2010 from http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/billfs.txt.
  17. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009a). 2008 hate crimes statistics: Expanded Offense Data. Accessed April 23, 2010 from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/expanded_information/index.html.
  18. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2009b). 2008 hate crimes statistics: Incidents and offense. Accessed April 23, 2010 from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/hc2008/incidents.html.
  19. Felix, E. D., & McMahon, S. D. (2007). The role of sex in peer victimization among youth: A study of incidence, interrelations, and social cognitive correlates. Journal of School Violence, 6, 27–44. doi: 10.1300/J202v06n03_03.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Felson, R. B., & Pare, P. P. (2005). The reporting of domestic violence and sexual assault by nonstrangers to police. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 597–610. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2005.00156.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Foa, E. B., Cashman, L., Jaycox, L., & Perry, K. (1997). The validation of a self report measure of posttraumatic stress disorder: the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale. Psychological Assessment, 9, 445–451. doi: 10.1037/1040-3590.9.4.445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Grothues, C. A., & Marmion, S. L. (2006). Dismantling the myths about intimate violence against women. In P. K. Lundberg-Love & S. L. Marmion (Eds.), “Intimate” violence against women: When spouses, partners, or lovers attack. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Hanson, R. F., Kilpatrick, D. G., Falsetti, S. A., & Resnick, H. S. (1995). Violent crime and mental health. In J. R. Freedy (Ed.), Traumatic stress: Theory and practice (pp. 129–161). New York, NY: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  24. Herek, G. M. (2007). Confronting sexual stigma and prejudice: Theory and practice. Journal of Social Issues, 63, 905–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Herek, G. M. (2009). Hate crimes and stigma-related experiences among sexual minority adults in the United States. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24, 54–74. doi: 10.1177/0886260508316477.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Herek, G. M., Gillis, J. R., & Cogan, J. C. (1999). Psychological sequelae of hate crime victimization among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 945–951. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.67.6.945.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Herek, G. M., Gillis, J. R., & Cogan, J. C. (2002). Victim experiences in hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Journal of Social Issues, 58(2), 313–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Herek, G. M., Gillis, J. G., & Cogan, J. C. (2009). Internalized stigma among sexual minority adults: Insights from a social psychological perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 32–43. doi: 10.1037/a0014672;  10.1037/a0014672.supp.Google Scholar
  29. Herek, G. M., Gillis, J. R., Cogan, J. C., & Glunt, E. K. (1997). Hate crime victimization among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12, 195–215. doi: 10.1177/088626097012002003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Human Rights Campaign. (2009). Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Accessed: April 23, 2010 from http://www.hrc.org/laws_and_elections/5660.htm.
  31. Hyman, B. (2009). Violence in the lives of lesbian women: Implications for mental health. Social Work in Mental Health, 7, 204–225. doi: 10.1080/15332980802072553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Irish, L., Ostrowski, S. A., Fallon, W., Spoonster, E., van Dulmen, M., et al. (2008). Trauma history characteristics and subsequent PTSD symptoms in motor vehicle accident victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 21, 377–384. doi: 10.1002/jts.20346.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Kaiser, C. R., Vick, S. B., & Major, B. (2006). Prejudice expectations moderate preconscious attention to cues that are threatening to social identity. Psychological Science, 17, 332–338. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01707.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., Saunders, B. E., & Best, C. L. (1998). Rape, other violence against women, and posttraumatic stress disorder: Critical issues in assessing the adversity-stress-psychopathology relationship. In Dohrenwend (Ed.), Adversity, stress, & psychopathology (pp. 161–176). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Kilpatrick, D. G., Ruggiero, K. J., Acierno, R. E., Saunders, B. E., Resnick, H. S., & Best, C. L. (2003). Violence and risk of PTSD, major depression, substance abuse/dependence, and comorbidity: Results from the national survey of adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 697–703. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.71.4.692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koss, M. P., Bailey, J. A., Yuan, N. P., Herrera, V. M., & Lichter, E. L. (2003). Depression and PTSD in survivors of male violence: research and training initiatives to facilitate recovery. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27, 130–142. doi: 10.1111/1471-6402.00093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. MacLeod, C., Rutherford, E., Campbell, L., Ebsworthy, G., & Holker, L. (2002). Selective attention and emotional vulnerability: Assessing the causal basis of their association through the experimental manipulation of attentional bias. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 111, 107–123. doi: 10.1037/0021-843X.111.1.107.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Macy, R. J., Giattina, M., Parish, S. L., & Crosby, C. (2010). Domestic violence and sexual assault services: Historical concerns and contemporary challenges. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 3–32. doi: 10.1177/0886260508329128.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Major, B., Quinton, W. J., & McCoy, S. K. (2002). Antecedents and consequences of attributions to discrimination: Theoretical and empirical advances. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 34, pp. 251–330). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  40. Marmion, S. L., & Lundberg-Love, P. K. (2008). PTSD symptoms in college students exposed to interparental violence: Are they comparable to those that result from child physical and sexual abuse? Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 17, 263–278. doi: 10.1080/10926770802424935.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Martin, S. L., Coyne-Beasley, T., Hoehn, M., Mathew, M., Runyan, C. W., et al. (2009). Primary prevention of violence against women: Training needs of violence practitioners. Violence Against Women, 15, 44–56. doi: 10.1177/1077801208327483.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Mathews, A., & MacLeod, C. (2002). Induced processing biases have causal effects on anxiety. Cognition and Emotion, 16, 331–354. doi: 10.1080/02699930143000518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. (2009). Hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people in the United States: 2008. Accessed March 22, 2010 from http://ncavp.org/common/document_files/Reports/2008%20HV%20Report%20maller%20file.pdf.
  44. National Victim Center. (1993). Looking back, moving forward: A guidebook for communities responding to sexual assault. Washington, DC: Sponsored by the Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  45. Nicholas, J., & Howard, J. (1998). Better dead than gay? Depression, suicide ideation and attempt among a sample of gay and straight-identified males aged 18 to 24. Youth Studies Australia, 17, 28–33.Google Scholar
  46. Pilkington, N. W., & D’Augelli, A. R. (2006). Victimization of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth in community settings. Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 34–56. doi: 10.1002/1520-6629(199501)23:1<34:AID-JCOP2290230105>3.0.CO;2-N.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rayburn, N. R., Mendoza, M., & Davison, G. C. (2003). Bystanders’ perceptions of victims and perpetrators of hate crimes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 1055–1074.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Roberts, A. L., Austin, S. B., Corliss, H. L., Vandermoriss, A. K., & Koenen, K. C. (2010). Pervasive trauma exposure among US sexual orientation minority adults and risk of posttraumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Public Health, 100, 2433–2441.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Spitzer, R. L., Kroenke, K., & Williams, J. B. (1999). Validation and utility of a self report version of PRIME-MD, the PHQ primary care study. Primary care evaluation of mental disorders. Patient Health Questionnaire. Journal of the American Medical Association, 282, 1737–1744. doi: 10.1001/jama.282.18.1737.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Steele, C. M., Spencer, S., & Aronson, J. (2002). Contending with group image: The psychology of stereotype and social identity threat. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 34, pp. 277–341). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  51. Zweig, J. M., & Burt, M. R. (2007). Predicting women’s perceptions of domestic violence and sexual assault agency helpfulness: What matters to program clients? Violence Against Women, 13, 1149–1178. doi: 10.1177/1077801207307799.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychological Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Cramer
    • 1
  • Dale E. McNiel
    • 2
  • Sarah R. Holley
    • 2
  • Martha Shumway
    • 2
  • Alicia Boccellari
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and PhilosophySam Houston State UniversityHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations