Moderating effects of personal strengths in the relationship between juvenile victimization and delinquent behaviors

Lu Yu, Ko Ling Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Robust evidence suggests a strong association between juvenile victimization and delinquency. Yet, there is a lack of research on the protective factors at the individual level that may buffer the relationship between victimization and delinquent behaviors. Objectives: This study adopted a positive psychology perspective to examine the effects of three types of personal strength (self-regulation, interpersonal, and intellectual)on the relationship between different types of victimization and delinquency. Participants and Setting: Data were collected from 631 Chinese migrant children (mean age = 10.52 ± 0.92 years)via convenience sampling. Methods: Participants completed a self-reported questionnaire that assessed experiences of victimization in family, interpersonal, and community settings, involvement in delinquent behaviors, and personal strengths. Results: The prevalence of different delinquent behaviors was significantly higher in the victimization groups than in the non-victimization groups. Regression analyses revealed that all three types of personal strength served as direct predictors of delinquency (B self-regulation = −0.46, SE self-regulation =.09, p <.001; B interpersonal strength = −0.23, SE interpersonal strength =.06, p <.001; B intellectual strength = −0.19, SE intellectual strength =.05, p <.001), while self-regulation further moderated the victimization-delinquency relationship. When self-regulation was high, the association between victimization and delinquency was significantly weaker than when self-regulation was low. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that personal strengths are important protective factors for youth exposed to experiences of victimization. Identifying methods to help victims recognize, develop, and use their personal strengths should be integral to support and intervention efforts for young victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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