Gender Differences in Victimization Risk: Exploring the Role of Deviant Lifestyles

Heather Zaykowski, University of Massachusetts Boston
Whitney D. Gunter, Western Michigan University


While research over the past few decades has illustrated that gender is a significant predictor of victimization, there has been less attention towards explaining these differences. Furthermore, there has been little attention given to how offending and other deviant behaviors contribute to victimization risk for males and females. This is surprising considering that offending, particularly violent behavior, is highly correlated with victimization risk and that males are more likely to offend than females. This study applied cross-sectional and time-ordered models predicting violent victimization and repeat victimization to examine how deviant lifestyles impacted victimization risk for males and females. The results suggest that violent behavior increases risk for males and females in the cross-sectional models, but not in the time-ordered model. These findings suggest that future research and policies should address longitudinal changes and gender specific analyses.

The data used in this research were collected by the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies as part of studies supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, by the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems, and by the Christiana Care Health Services Center for Women’s and Children’s Health Research. The views and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Delaware or the sponsoring agencies.