Opportunity theory and adolescent school-based victimization

Michelle Campbell Augustine, Pamela Wilcox, Graham C. Ousey, Richard R. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


While school-based adolescent victimization has received a great deal of public attention, there exist relatively few theoretically driven studies aimed at explaining this phenomenon. We address this paucity by providing a test of a criminal opportunity model of school-based victimization using data on over 3,000 students from 40 different Kentucky middle and high schools. The effects of opportunity-related concepts are estimated for both violent and property victimization, and comparisons are made for each victimization type across middle- and high-school student subsamples. Findings suggest that criminal opportunity theory is relevant to the understanding of school-based victimization. In particular, indicators of exposure to crime and target antagonism appear to be robust predictors. Further, there appears to be substantial generalizability in the effects of opportunity-related variables across violent versus property victimization as well as across middle-school versus high-school contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-253
Number of pages21
JournalViolence and victims
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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