Assessing the mental health impact of interpersonal poly-victimization across the life-course in a male population

  • Carol Burns

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


A systemic conclusion within the extant literature is that victimization and poly-victimization leads to adverse psychological outcomes. A large body of literature exists as it pertains to the association between victimisation and mental health in studies utilising samples of childhood victims, female victims, and mixed samples of male and female victims; less research exists as it relates to male victims of interpersonal violence and abuse. The aims of this thesis were therefore to 1.) identify profiles of interpersonal poly-victimizations in an exclusively male sample (Chapter 4); 2.) to examine the differential predictability of these profiles on negative mental health outcomes (Chapter 5). Further, Chapter 6 assessed 3.) the role of perceived physical health on the relationship between typology of interpersonal poly-victimization and psychopathology, while Chapter 7 examined 4.) the impact of perceived interpersonal social support on the relationship between typology of interpersonal poly-victimization and psychopathology. A final line of enquiry involved a pioneering analysis strategy, the Meaning Extraction Method (MEM) to 5.) evaluate the natural language used by male victims to express their thoughts, feelings and emotions in relation to their experiences (Chapter 8).
Using Latent Variable Modelling techniques applied to data from 15,862 adult males from Wave 3 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), aims 1 to 4 were addressed. Latent Class Analysis exposed a 3-class solution as optimal. Logistic Regression was subsequently utilized to establish risk across mental health disorders. As expected, victimisation profiles showed elevated odds ratios for the presence of mental health disorders across all domains examined, suggesting that multiple life-course victimisation typologies exist, and that victimization is strongly associated with psychopathology. Mediation analysis showed that for male victims, physical health is an important factor in their psychological health and that perceived interpersonal social support has a mediating impact and further, moderates the relationship between participants categorised as childhood poly-victimised in cases of Drug Use Disorders, Depressive Disorders and Personality Disorders. The 5th aim of this thesis was addressed with a pilot study utilising MEM analysis in Chapter 8, however, data collection fell short of the standards needed for a MEM analysis. Consequently, no MEM analysis could be completed however, valuable information was gained and taken forward into the results, discussion and implications of this chapter. The minimal data gathered in this study showed promising results as it concurred with previous findings. Suggestions for improvements in the data collection strategy are discussed. Several notable findings from the thesis are discussed in an overview in Chapter 9.
Date of AwardSept 2019
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsVice Chancellor's Research scholarship
SupervisorC Armour (Supervisor) & Orla Mc Bride (Supervisor)


  • Victimisation
  • LCA

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