Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Heidi Scherer

Second Advisor

Dr. Tanja Link

Third Advisor

Dr. Jennifer McMahon-Howard


Past research indicates that a significant proportion of youth experience sexual or intimate partner victimization (IPV) during their time in high school. Studies examining the risk-factors for victimization among this population report that youth are more likely to be victimized when they engage in behaviors such as drinking, drug use, and risky sexual practices (see Basile, Black, Simon, Arias, Brener & Saltzman, 2006). Many past studies that have examined the risk factors for victimization among this population have used the theoretical framework put forth by the routine activities theory (Cohen & Felson, 1979) and lifestyle-exposure theory (Hindelang, Gottfredson & Garofalo, 1978). Drawing from previous research and the lifestyle-routine activities framework, this study utilized the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (N=13,538) to examine what factors increased a youth's risk of experiencing sexual victimization and IPV. Consistent with past findings, youth who engaged in risk-taking behaviors such as drug and alcohol use were more likely to report having been a victim of rape victimization and IPV. Policy and prevention implications are also discussed.