Considerable research documents the consequences of criminal violence for victims. At the same time, a strong relationship exists between age and risk of violent victimization; risk is greatest in childhood and adolescence. This article joins these two issues by examining the implications of violent victimization for personal and social development. The discussion is divided into three sections. The first section situates violent victimization in the life course by examining age-differentiation in victimization risk. With high risk during adolescence, victimization is most likely to occur during a period of the life course in which a variety of life course trajectories are formed. The second section reviews research on the implications of victimization for life course development with respect to psychological distress and well-being, involvement in crime and deviance, and educational and socioeconomic attainment. Finally, the third section proposes a theoretical framework for understanding the myriad life course consequences of victimization and suggests directions for future research. In examining the role of violence in shaping individual life courses, this article links criminological and sociological inquiry to further understandings of the social factors that influence individual development.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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