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Individuals who have not been victimized by negative life events, such as serious illness, accidents, or crime, tend to perceive themselves as “uniquely invulnerable,” as less vulnerable to victimization than others. The actual experience of victimization, however, appears to shatter this illusion of invulnerability, creating in victims a new and unfamiliar sense of vulnerability often accompanied by psychological distress. This article reviews literature documenting nonvictims' perceptions of unique invulnerability and victims' heightened perceptions of vulnerability, and addresses the potentially adaptive versus maladaptive consequences of these perceptions. It is argued that victims who have the most difficulty coping with their misfortune may be precisely those individuals who initially felt least vulnerable prior to being victimized. Therefore, how victims cope may depend in part on their prior beliefs about risk. In addition, a distinction is made between victims who feel “uniquely vulnerable” (more vulnerable than others) and those who feel “universally vulnerable” (equally vulnerable as others) to future misfortune. It is proposed that perceptions of universal vulnerability may be a more adaptive reaction to victimization than are perceptions of unique vulnerability.