Journal of Gang Research

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Predictors of gang involvement among American Indian Adolescents.
  • Article
  • Full-text available

January 2002


336 Reads

Les B. Whitbeck




Jerry D. Stubben
This study is an investigation of factors associated with gang involvement among 212 fifth through eighth grade American Indian adolescents whose families lived on or near three American Indian Reservations in the Upper Midwest. Six percent of males and four percent of females were gang members. About one-third had been asked to join a gang, and more than one third of the adolescents had friends who were gang members. Gang involvement was highly associated with delinquency and substance abuse. Predictors of gang involvement other than delinquency and substance abuse included age of adolescent, living in single-mother household, mother's history of antisocial behaviors, number life transitions and losses in the past year, traditional activities, and perceived discrimination. The results are interpreted in terms of the marginalization and discrimination among American Indian youth in rural settings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

The Truth About Outlaw Bikers & What You Can Expect If They Come To Your Town.

January 2004


239 Reads

The following paper will illustrate how dangerous Outlaw Bikers are, and what local law enforcement can do if they move into your town. This paper will also explain the history of the Big Four Outlaw Biker Gangs in the United States, and how they have become the new Organized Crime group of the world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Bullying Behavior in School: A Predictor of Later Gang Involvement

January 1998


310 Reads

Studied familial, sociological and personal predictors of violent behavior and gang membership, including the relationship between school bullying behaviors and later affiliations with gangs. Responses to surveys of 10,000 confined offenders from 85 correctional institutions (boot camps, juvenile detention centers, prisons) in 17 states were analyzed. Self-reported experiences with bullying and violent behaviors by the incarcerated youth indicated that early experiences as a bully in school were significant predictors of later gang membership. Differences for males and females, as well as for families characterized by high and low dysfunction are also discussed. The results are viewed as supporting the need for continued research in effective identification and intervention with bullying behavior in young children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

"Golden Parachutes" and Gangbanging: Taiwanese Gangs in Suburban Southern California.

June 2005


381 Reads

In criminology and sociology, Asian youth gangs and gang related delinquency has been largely regarded as the result of structural disadvantage and adjustment problems in old ethnic enclaves. In other words, Asian gangs, particularly Asian immigrant gangs were frequently contextualized as a problem limited to old ethnic enclaves in inner city areas. Contrary to this perception, gang activity is observed in Southern California suburban cities with economically affluent residents. This ongoing research focuses on Taiwanese immigrant gang youths in several upper-middle class suburban Taiwanese communities in Southern California. Unlike the typical gang member, the vast majority of our respondents are privileged in their economic and social standings. They are also successful in their academic pursuits. The preliminary results of the study contradict significantly with the mainstream structure-based gang theories. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Distinguishing the effects of peer delinquency and gang membership on self-reported delinquency.

January 2002


112 Reads

Examined the the distinction between peer delinquency (or delinquency committed by friends) and gang membership. The effects of both gang membership and peer delinquency on self-reported delinquency was assessed. The authors examined the effects of variables based on both social learning theory and social control theory upon self-reported delinquency. Data was taken for the Seattle Youth Study (M. Hidelang et al, 1981). Ss were asked to self-report involvement in a wide range of delinquent activity. Four measures of self-reported delinquency were selected for analysis. It was found that both peer delinquency and gang membership are significant predictors of self-reported delinquency. The authors also found in the latent variable analyses that neither gang membership nor peer delinquency may be considered a part of the same underlying construct as self-reported delinquency. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

Females and Gangs: Sexual Violence, Prostitution, and Exploitation.

January 2004


1,476 Reads

This study includes not just female gang members and female gangs, but also those females and women who are associated with gang members. The central focus of the analysis is the scope and extent of sexual violence and sexual exploitation in what is, after all, a male dominated gang problem in America. Much evidence exists demonstrating the fact that sexual violence and sexual exploitation involving female victims occurs as a result of gangs and gang members. Gangs are hard enough to study and research. Females involved with gangs in a membership or associational pattern are even harder to research as they represent but a small percentage of the overall gang problem in America. The sexual violence and sexual exploitation in gangs or from gang members takes several different forms: (1) the risky behavior that occurs simply by associating with or interacting with gangs and gang members, (2) the behavior of the gang itself as an organization when it is motivated by the illegal income from prostitution or when it has aberrant practices within its cultural tradition, and (3) the tendency where some gangs engage in kidnapping, slavery, and forced prostitution as way to build their financial empire. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

A media analysis of gang-related homicides in British Columbia from 2003 to 2013

July 2015


1,568 Reads

Numerous research studies conducted in the past decade have focused on gangs and gang violence. The results from these studies have assisted law enforcement agencies in developing policies and practices to address gang-related homicides in the community. However, academics and police agencies have failed to establish a universal definition for identifying a gang, and distinguish gang-related homicides from non-gang-related homicides. Research has focused primarily on the criteria of location, risk factors and the crime patterns of gangs, but failed to explore the lesser-evaluated criteria of the stressors, motivation and intent involved with joining gangs. In some cases, the absence of concrete definitions or classifications has had a negative impact on reducing the presence of gangs and in preventing gang violence in particular geographic areas. In British Columbia, created programs have forced some gang members to move their operations into the province's interior (MacQueen & Treble, 2011). The authors propose that there should be a universal system for defining and classifying gangs and-gang-related homicides in Canada, and that police in British Columbia should reconsider their current deployment strategies to ensure they are aligned to the demonstrated violence in which gangs are involved.

A special NGCRC report: The problem of gangs and security threat groups (STG's) in American prisons and jails today: Recent findings from the 2012 NGCRC national gang/STG survey

September 2012


204 Reads

A mail survey of N = 148 adult prisons and county jails in N = 48 states developed new and useful insights into gang recruiting and other problems behind bars today. Gangs and security threat groups (STG 's) control a variety of income-producing enterprises. How prisons and county jails control and respond to gang and STG problems are described. The predictions for the future include an increased gang/STG threat in adult American corrections.

Healing connections: Rising above the gang

December 2009


160 Reads

The guiding principle for our research into the youth gang phenomenon is that any investigation into youth-related issues should begin with the knowledge, wisdom and strengths of young people Their voices convinced us: that popular conceptions of "gangs," especially youth gangs are often misguided; that despite their reality that gangs are not an attractive social to marginalization, they do understand why young people join; and that gangs are functional micro-communities but that they do disintegrate the larger community. Most importantly, the young gang members were profoundly aware that social policy must support family health initiatives and that any social justice change must focus on a mandate for the police as front line workers who provide safety and security In the end, our research through the voices of young people illustrates that youth gang members are in a constant struggle to find security in a world that tends to isolate and marginalize them.

Exploring post-traumatic stress syndrome among African-American adolescent gang members in rural areas: Suggestions for therapeutic interventions

January 2017


157 Reads

Scholarly literature and the media profusely report African American street gangs, and the associated violent activities in the United States of America. However, little is known about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among adolescent gangs, and much less information is available on PTSD and gangs in rural areas. Recent research on gang members has revealed that gang members do experience high levels of mental health issues as a consequence of gang activities. Among the mental illness that is diagnosed is PTSD which is primarily resultant of traumatic, or violent exposure that often goes untreated among gang members. For many reasons African American adolescent male gang members will not seek professional assistance, or medical care. PTSD is a very serious mental health issue and if untreated can cause numerous problems from a micro and macro level of functioning that could increase the level of gang violence. Although gang members experience numerous barriers to treatment, PTSD screening is a necessary step in the intervention process with gang members. Other effective strategies will also be examined in this article. The need for future research among adolescent African American gang members experiencing PTSD are discussed. © 2017, National Gang Crime Research Center. All rights reserved.

"An Afro-centric perspective for understanding black adolescent male joining gangs"

January 2019


87 Reads

The purpose of this paper is to explore an Afro-centric perspective for understanding black adolescent joining gangs. This paper also suggests ways to improve approaches for programs to use to encourage youth to quit street gang lifestyle. The attempt to improve anti-gang programming requires the promotion of a different perspective for anti-gang messaging. In order to discuss a different perspective for understanding black adolescent male gang violence, a literature review from an Afro-centric perspective is presented to attempt to understand black adolescent male street gang violence. The purposes of this literature review will be; (1) to examine the significance of Afro-centric studies and practices and; (2) to discuss socialization and the role of unfavorable ethnic socialization or negative black male stereotypes along with what we call culturally responsive outcome as a factor in black adolescent male violence; (3) we will also discuss how these Afro-centric perspectives can be used to improving treatment to meet the social developmental needs. Also as a result of exploring an afro-centric perspective further strategies for research will be addressed to attempt to understand and improve treatment to meet the social developmental needs of black adolescent male youth. © 2019 National Gang Crime Research Center.All Rights Reserved.

A comparison of gang and non-gang involved adult probationers in California's agricultural heartland

September 2014


46 Reads

In recent years gangs in the United States have increasingly emerged in non-urban settings. It is also becoming more common for gang members to extend their gang involvement into adulthood, yet most gang researchers have limited their attention to juveniles in urban gangs. Moreover, prior researchers have focused almost exclusively on policing when examining the justice system's responses to gangs, thereby neglecting the role of probation. In light of these trends, this study employed official probation department data to examine adult probationers in a small agricultural county in California. Probationers on the gang caseload were compared to non-gang members on a range of dimensions, including but not limited to background characteristics, offending history, and recidivism. Several notable differences between gang and non-gang involved probationers were found, and implications for probation practices and the gang literature are discussed.

Globalization and gang growth: The four phenomena affect

December 2012


191 Reads

Globalization has created many opportunities for shared cultural experiences and interactions. It has also created opportunities for growth among gangs. This article examines four specific globalization trends which may increase the criminal impact of gangs at both the global and local levels. Global pillage, urbanization, democratization and the networked enterprise have the potential to increase gang membership, access to victims, institutionalization and criminal sophistication. The macro-social effects of these types of growth are beginning can be seen in the form of sovereignty reduction.

Understanding and meeting the needs of formerly gang-affiliated youth through tattoo-removal services

January 2014


54 Reads

Urban gang-affiliated youth are highly vulnerable but rarely identified as a public health priority. Two-thirds of Alameda County youth in the juvenile justice system surveyed expressed interest in tattoo removal to help them accomplish their ambitious educational and occupational goals. In response, the Alameda County Public Health Department created Project New Start, based on the framework of youth development and resilience, which provides tattoo removal, case management, and youth development services to formerly gang-affiliated youth. Participants ranged in age from 13-27 years, were majority female, and highly racially/ethnically diverse. The authors recommend that practitioners and policymakers create community-based, multi-pronged strength-based approaches to violence prevention, positive youth development and health promotion.

Gang affiliation and negative perceptions about authority, law enforcement, and laws: Is gang affiliation a precursor to becoming a threat to homeland security and terrorism?

June 2008


69 Reads

This study explored the connections between gang affiliation and negative perceptions about authority, law enforcement, and laws. It compared the young adults' (gang affiliated) perceptions about authority, law enforcement, and laws with young adults' (non-gang affiliated), perceptions. The objective was to explore whether negative perceptions about authority, law enforcement, and laws may enhance an individual propensity to join more serious and hard core groups and actually serve as precursor to becoming a threat to homeland security. Data indicate that although young adults with gang affiliation are more likely to hold negative perceptions and are more likely to be enticed by any organization that challenges authority and provides members with a sense of belonging and introduces gang members to terrorist activities, gang affiliation by itself is neither a certain nor an inevitable precursor to becoming a threat to homeland security and terrorism. The analysis of variance was conducted to examine the differences on measures of differences among the three groups. Gang members were found to have more negative perceptions about the authority, law enforcement, and laws as well as more enthusiastic about engaging in illegal and criminal activities as compared to non-gang members. The gang members with negative perceptions about the authority, law enforcement, and laws were more likely to justify terrorist actions as compared to non-gang members with lesser degree of negative perceptions about the authority, law enforcement, and laws. The contribution of close affiliation and ties to gang membership to criminal gang activities was also examined. Gang membership was not found to independently affect justification for terrorist actions.

The reflection of crime in culture: The case of La eMe and American me

January 2018


205 Reads

With the continued growth of the entertainment industry and an increasingly prominent community of Latino filmmakers it was no surprise that the criminal underbelly of the Hispanic community would eventually become a subject of interest for these artists. Such is the unusual case of the Mexican Mafia, La eMe, and the 1992 film 'American Me ', a cinematic endeavor by actor and community activist Edward James Olmos. Gang leaders in the US and Mexico became inflamed by purportedly violent, sexual, historically inaccurate portrayals of the founding member of the Mexican Mafia. This paper will present a glimpse into the world of La eMe and how a gang leader intimidated, threatened, and eventually brought suit against a leading Latino actor, activist, and filmmaker. It was a case with potentially volatile repercussions for the filmmaking community and popular culture in general. This study is an explorative and descriptive account of the events included in the film 'American Me' and the resulting legal and personal drama that unfolded as a result of the release and critical acclaim garnered by the film. © 2018 National Gang Crime Research Center. All rights reserved.

Explaining gang involvement and delinquency among Asian Americans: An empirical test of general strain theory

March 2009


139 Reads

Research on gang involvement and delinquency among Asian youth has slowly increased. However, to date, no existing studies have examined this topic under the lenses of Agnew 's general strain theory (GST). Using data obtained from a survey of approximately 285 Asian youth, this study examined the impact of strain measures on gang involvement and delinquency. The investigation included untested strain measures that might have particular relevance to Asian youth. Furthermore, the research assessed the mediating effects of negative emotions like anger and frustration on the strain-delinquency relationship. Using structural equation modeling, data analysis provided only partial support for GST.

Relationship of latino gang membership to anger expression, bullying, ethnic identity, and self-esteem

September 2008


104 Reads

This study compared Latino gang members to nongang members on psychological constructs of anger, bullying, self-esteem and ethnic identity. Gang members were hypothesized to have outwardly expressed anger, higher levels of ethnic identity, higher levels of bullying behavior and lower self-esteem, when compared with their nongang member counterparts. Youth Participation Questionnaires (YPQ) were administered to 90 male Latino youth volunteers between 14 and 18 years of age enrolled in after-school programs at three community centers within the Washington metropolitan area. Using a series of chi-square tests, t tests, a multivariate analysis of covari-ance (MANCOVA), after controlling for church attendance as a covariate, only anger expressed (in/out) remained significant, with gang members having higher expression of anger. Given these findings, future studies should investigate whether similar anger expression patterns are present in the members of other ethnic gangs (i.e., African American, Asian, female, etc.).

Anomie theory and gang delinquency

September 2014


1,299 Reads

In this paper, anomie theory is considered as an explanation of gang delinquency. After briefly discussing the influence of Durkheim and Merton on anomie theory, a review of more recent versions of the theory is presented. The general strain theory of Agnew, as well as Konty 's concept of microanomie, and Messner and Rosenfeld's institutional anomie theory are reviewed. An empirical assessment of anomie theory (focusing on educational and occupational expectations) is conducted. We find that educational expectations is a significant correlate of delinquency, though measures based on social control theory and social learning theory are stronger predictors.

Antecedents to gang membership: Attachments, beliefs, and street encounters with the police

June 2008


106 Reads

In a large sample of public high school students in Chicago, this study explored gang members' attitudes toward school and the police, prosocial beliefs, and experiences with the police. It also investigated the relationship between fear of police and fear of gangs and youth's membership in gangs. Gang members were compared with nongang members (who lived in the same communities) on these variables in order to identify differences between the two groups. In particular, we were interested in whether self-reported experiences with the police were related to gang membership after controlling for overall attitudes toward school and prosocial beliefs. Our findings indicated that gang membership was related to being stopped by the police, disrespected by the police, and fearful of gangs but unrelated to school commitment or prosocial beliefs. We discuss the implications of these results for improving police-youth relationships, especially between youth and officers who work in specialized gang units.

Gang formation revisited: A human development framework to inform balanced anti-gang strategies

June 2013


129 Reads

This article provides a conceptual explanation of how human developmental processes promote gangformation as well as inform a balanced anti-gang strategy. The article describes how, in ethnic minority neighborhoods, poverty and marginalization lead to "street socialization" and the institutionalization of street gang subcultures that undermine the normal course of human development. This article suggests that we must look to the human developmental root of gangs by examining the historical and cultural experiences of ethnic minority youth through a multiple marginality framework. The use of such perspective, establishing the realities of time, place and people, can lay the foundation for the balanced prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies needed to circumvent gang involvement. Iwasinasituationwherelreactedbyprotectingmyself. Idon 't look atmyself"as a killer... When I went to [prison], I was innocent. They corrupted me inside. They say they 're doing society a better deal by locking you up. Uh-uh. Oh, hell no. You keep youth out. Do something to them for what the hell they've done, but don't put them in that type of place... I thought I was a killer, [but] 1was in there with some killers. I wasn 'I no damn killer. (Bebee) I always instilled in my children to have self-respect, to have education as a foundation, because I 'm not rich. Idon 7 have money to give to [my boys]; the only thing that ¡them [to do is] to study. That iswhy I'm involved with that at school. Their foundation is to study. 1 tell them, I want a college degree from you. I don't have money to leave to you or a residency, house. The only thing I can give you is an education, and that 's more than enough. ' They pick up on this. They know that, if they don't study, they are not going to be anything. They know from the oldest one to the youngest one. That is the goal, the foundation that I have pushed them on. That is why they say, 'I'm going to study to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer. ' I tell them, 'Okay. Just look out for what you are going to study. ' (Sonia).

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