Article

Gang Involvement and Membership among Homeless and Runaway Youth

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Abstract

The present study documented the extent of gang involvement and gang membership in a sample of 602 homeless and runaway youth from four midwestern states. The study also compared gang members, gang-involved youth who were not members, and nongang youth on several dimensions including sociodemographic characteristics, family background, school experiences, street experiences and exposure, emotional problems, alcohol and drug use, and other delinquent and deviant behaviors. Findings indicated that a significant number of these youth were gang members (15.4% of the sample) or involved in gangs (32.2% of the sample). Youth gang members and gang-involved youth reported more family legal problems, had been suspended from school more, ran away at a younger age, used more alcohol and drugs, were exposed to more deviant peers, and attempted suicide more than did nongang youth. In addition, youth gang members reported less parental monitoring, more severe abuse, more street victimization, and more deviant subsistence strategies than did either gang-involved or noninvolved youth.

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... However, they typically do not specifically talk about substance 'abuse'. It is clear that gang members use drugs more frequently, in greater amounts, and experiment with more different types of drugs, than youth in the general population (Esbensen & Huizinga, 1993;Hunt et al., 2002;Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). ...
... In a study of 602 runaway and homeless youth, Yoder et al. (2003) found that both gang members and gang-involved youth were more likely to use substances than nongang youth. This finding is supported by other studies that compared gang members to nongang members (Bjerregaard & Smith, 1993;Esbensen & Huizinga, 1993). ...
... It is clear that many female gang members use drugs and the research suggests that female gang members use drugs more frequently and are more often polydrug users than both nongang males and females (Bjerregaard & Smith, 1993: Brotherton, 1996Esbensen & Huizinga, 1993;Hunt et al., 2002;Moore & Hagedorn, 2001;Yoder et al., 2003) and that they may even use some drugs at a higher frequency than male gang members (Bjerregaard & Smith, 1993;Esbensen & Huizinga, 1993;Hunt et al., 2002;Moore, 1994). These study findings also suggest that there is a specific context in which female gang members use drugs. ...
... . Previous research has found that approximately 15% of homeless youth identify as a gang member and 32% are affiliated with gang members (Yoder, Whitbeck & Hoyt, 2003). This exceeds the cumulative gang involvement in a nationally representative sample, in which 8% of individuals were ever in a gang by their early 20s and 18% were affiliated with a gang (Pyrooz, 2014). ...
... However, very little is known about gang involved homeless youth. These data on prevalence of gang membership among homeless youth are from the Midwest Homeless and Runaway Adolescent Project gathered in 1996 (Yoder et al., 2003;. Thus, there is much to be learned about gang involved homeless youth. ...
... However, gang involved homeless youths are distinguishable from non-gang involved homeless youths. Homeless youths who identify as gang members tend to be younger, have lower levels of parental monitoring and higher levels of childhood physical abuse, and are more likely to have been suspended from school compared to non-gang involved homeless youth (Yoder et al., 2003). In a sample of Chicago-based homeless African American boys, gang-identifying youths had higher rates of negative mental and physical health outcomes compared to non-gang involved homeless youths, including higher levels of depression and anxiety, social and violent behavior, and lifetime alcohol and marijuana use (Harper et al., 2008). ...
Article
This study examined the associations of sexual risk behaviors, substance use, mental health, and trauma with varying levels of gang involvement in a sample of Los Angeles-based homeless youths. Data were collected from 505 homeless youths who self-reported various health information and whether they have ever identified as or been closely affiliated with a gang member. Multivariable logistic regression assessed associations of lifetime gang involvement with risk taking behaviors and negative health outcomes. Results revealed seventeen percent of youths have ever identified as a gang member and 46% as gang affiliated. Both gang members and affiliates were at greater risk of many negative behaviors than non-gang involved youths. Gang members and affiliates were more likely to report recent methamphetamine use, cocaine use, chronic marijuana use, having sex while intoxicated, and symptoms of depression, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. They were also more likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse and witnessing family violence. Gang members were more likely to ever attempt suicide, experience recent partner violence, and report physical abuse during childhood. Results suggest that lifetime gang involvement is related to a trajectory of negative outcomes and amplified risk for youths experiencing homelessness. Additionally, being closely connected to a gang member appears to have just as much as an impact on risk as personally identifying as a gang member. Given the lack of knowledge regarding the intersection between youth homelessness and gang involvement, future research is needed to inform policies and programs that can address the specific needs of this population.
... The few empirical studies that have attempted to examine the moderating variable of race in relation to psychopathy and conduct disorder have produced mixed results (Skeem, Polascheck, Patrick, & Lilenfeld, 2011). Therefore, the inclusion of race as a moderating variable in this study is important considering that majority of gangs is comprised of minority youth (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). ...
... Gang membership increases an individual's probability of experiencing victimization, which is supported within the extant literature (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003;Taylor, Peterson, Esbensen, & Freng, 2007;Taylor, 2008;Taylor, Freng, Esbensen, & Peterson, 2008;Delisi, Barnes, Beaver, & Gibson, 2009;Webb, Ren, Zhoa, He, & Marshall, 2011;Barnes, Boutwell, & Fox, 2012;Bendixen, Endersen, & Olwens, 2006). This may be the result of the delinquent mediating relationship associated with gang membership (Bendixen, Endersen, & Olwens, 2006). ...
... Furthermore, gang member are more likely to experience victimization from members within their gang in comparison to rival gang members (Taylor, Peterson, Esbensen, & Freng, 2007). Even though there is substantial evidence (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003;Taylor, Peterson, Esbensen, & Freng, 2007;Taylor, 2008;Taylor, Freng, Esbensen, & Peterson, 2008;Delisi, Barnes, Beaver, & Gibson, 2009;Webb, Ren, Zhoa, He, & Marshall, 2011;Barnes, Boutwell, & Fox, 2012) also report that gang members are likely to perpetrate more criminality in comparison to their non-delinquent peers. The literature has provided evidence: (1) that males are more likely to join gangs, (2) gang members are usually younger than non-members, (3) gang members are derived from low socioeconomic regions, and (4) minorities are more likely to involve themselves with gangs (https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/survey-analysis/demographics; Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). ...
Article
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The extant literature provides evidence that gang involvement increases and individuals propensity to perpetrate antisocial behavior. Furthermore, it has been empirically support that criminal involvement increases and individuals like-hood of experiencing victimization. Antisocial personality disorder is described as engaging in aggressive behavior that is socially unacceptable; irresponsible, impulsive behavior; merged with impaired ability to empathize with victims; indifference to social norms, and frequent substance abuse (Cox, Edens, Magyar, & Lilienfeld, 2013; Lilienfeld & Arkowitz, 2007). Therefore, it is logical to deduce that gang affiliation also increases the probability of victimization amongst juveniles, which has been supported by by several authors. Furthermore, considering the symptomology associated with conduct disorder and operational defiant disorder it is probable that gang membership and victimization may have a critical role in the externalization of this psychological disorders symptoms. To examine this question we utilize data gathered by the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T) program which consists of (N=5,935) eight grade students from 42 different schools. These schools are located in: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The metropolitan regions the subjects reside during the data collection period are: Omaha, Las Cruces, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Torrance, Orlando, Pocatello, Will County, Kansas City, Providence, and Milwaukee. The results, limitations, and implications of the study will be discussed later.
... Cogent studies exploring different dimensions of the family process have substantiated these findings. The dimensions include the effects of family warmth and support, attachment and involvement, parental practices, parenting styles, and family conflict [23][24][25][26][27][28]. It has been discovered that positive parenting is a protective factor in which more positive parental coping strategies are associated with less relational aggression. ...
... Research has found that having friends in gangs and low social self-control are positively associated with aggression, especially among boys, older and less educated youth [21,46,47]. Apart from being exposed to more deviant peers, youth gang members have also reported more family legal problems, suspension from school, attempts to run away from home, usage of alcohol and drugs, attempted suicide, street victimization, and parent-child conflicts, compared to non-gang youth [25,26]. Research suggests, however, that while membership in gangs is partially mediated by peer violence in its relation to individual violence, parenting practice is fully mediated in its relation to peer violence by gang membership [48]. ...
... Familial conflict has been found in numerous studies to be associated with delinquency, crime, and violence, and there is evidence to even suggest that parental conflict is the most salient predictor of children's maladjustment [25]. When compared with other groups of obstetric and poverty risk factors, children with both early neuromotor deficits and unstable family environments have been shown to have significantly more academic and behavioral problems in adolescence and even double the rates of violence, theft, and total crime in adulthood [57]. ...
Article
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This study was designed to explore the self and contextual factors for violence in two samples of school students and youth offenders in Macau. There were 3085 participants who were between 12 and 20 years old; 48.3% of them were male and 51.7% female. Findings revealed that youth offenders exhibited more violence than school students. For the self factors, while lower self-esteem and higher self-efficacy of school students were associated with more violent behavior, these two variables had no significant effects for youth offenders. For the contextual factors, family conflict was the strongest predictor of violence, and school commitment/attachment was the weakest predictor for both samples. For youth offenders, family conflict had the largest direct effect, followed by susceptibility to negative peer influence and influence of the Triad gangs, while school commitment/attachment had a significant though mild direct effect. For school students, family conflict mediated the effect of self-esteem and self-efficacy on violence. While Triad gangs' influence was the second strongest predictor of violence, being exposed to Triad gangs' influence also mediated the effect of self-esteem and self-efficacy on violence. It is recommended that youth outreach services with a focus on family support and gang detachment for at-risk youth be strengthened.
... Young people who are homeless and lack critical resources often resort to such behaviors to meet their basic necessities (Ferguson et al., 2011;Karabanow, Hughes, Ticknor, Kidd, & Patterson, 2010), including drug dealing, theft (Whitbeck & Hoyt, 1999), and trading sex for resources (Gaetz & O'Grandy, 2002). Additionally, many join gangs for protection (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003), through which they can access social networks and mentors, but which also initiate them into further illicit activities. Moreover, more time on the street seems to increase the likelihood of engaging in deviancy (Baron, 2008;Crawford et al., 2011). ...
... One distinct advantage of this study was its ability to control for confounding variables when comparing outcomes between individuals who have been homeless compared to those who have not. A critical result of this study is that, even when controlling for potential, unmeasured covariates, our findings are consistent with prior literature using community samples and traditional observational designs showing a positive correlation between homelessness and criminal behavior (Baron, 2008;Crawford et al., 2011;Ferguson et al., 2011;Gaetz & O'Grandy, 2002;Whitbeck et al., 2001;Yoder et al., 2003). In addition, unlike most studies that examine criminal behavior in late adolescence or emerging adulthood, our crime measures were assessed when the respondents were between 24 and 34 years old. ...
Article
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The current study employs data from the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 10,818; 56% female; 21% African American) to test how experiencing homelessness through emerging adulthood and child maltreatment predict adult property crime and violent crime. Unlike many published studies on homelessness, we used propensity score matching to correct for selection bias between homeless and nonhomeless individuals. Logistic regression models were run to predict violent and property crime in adulthood, controlling for child maltreatment. Participants who experienced homelessness by age 26 were 1.6 times more likely to commit violent crime in adulthood and almost 30% more likely to commit property crime. Those who were victims of child maltreatment were 15 times more likely to commit property crime, but no more likely to commit violent crime. Findings show that comparing statistically equivalent groups, homelessness through emerging adulthood significantly predicted adult criminality while child maltreatment showed more variable results. Greater prevention efforts aimed at children and adolescents at high risk of experiencing homelessness, as well as more intensive outreach services to homeless youth, may moderate exposure and reduce reliance on criminal survival behaviors.
... However, because gangs often congregate in low-income neighborhoods (Harley & Hunn, 2015), it is likely that some homeless women are touched by gang violence prior to becoming homeless. Research exploring the gang involvement of homeless or runaway youth finds that some youth consider gangs appealing as a source of kinship and protection (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). While involvement in gangs increases one's risk of exposure to gang-related violent victimization (Battin, Hill, Abbott, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1998;Yoder et al., 2003), such risks are gendered (Miller & Decker, 2001;Miller & White, 2004). ...
... Research exploring the gang involvement of homeless or runaway youth finds that some youth consider gangs appealing as a source of kinship and protection (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). While involvement in gangs increases one's risk of exposure to gang-related violent victimization (Battin, Hill, Abbott, Catalano, & Hawkins, 1998;Yoder et al., 2003), such risks are gendered (Miller & Decker, 2001;Miller & White, 2004). For example, women in gangs are much less likely than men to be a victim of a gang homicide, and when murdered, they are rarely the intended target (Miller & Decker, 2001). ...
Article
Research shows that, for most people, homelessness is not a chronic state that one enters and never leaves. Instead, homelessness tends to be dynamic, with individuals cycling in and out of multiple periods of homelessness throughout their lives. Despite this recognition, and a wealth of research on the causes of homelessness, generally, there is a lack of scholarship on the pathways to multiple episodes of homelessness. In particular, the relationship between violent victimization and women’s likelihood of being homeless multiple times is largely unexplored. Drawing on data collected from 269 structured interviews conducted with women using the services of homeless shelters and/or transitional housing in three U.S. and two U.K. cities, we use multivariate logistic regression to assess whether violent victimization increases women’s likelihood of experiencing multiple episodes of homelessness. Our results show that adult victims of stranger-perpetrated physical assault are significantly more likely to be homeless on multiple occasions. In addition, those who experience multiple forms of victimization (e.g., physical and sexual abuse) in childhood, adulthood, and/or across the life course are significantly more likely to experience multiple episodes of homelessness. Given recent efforts to eradicate homelessness, our results suggest specific vulnerable groups that may benefit from targeted social and policy interventions.
... Detached from conventional institutions and mainstream society, homeless youth often engage in illegal behaviors and criminal activity to meet their basic survival needs (Baron & Hartnagel, 1997), which put them at an increased risk of drawing the attention of law enforcement. Indeed, homeless youth have much higher rates of law enforcement contact and subsequent incarceration than housed youth (Ferguson et al., 2011;Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). Furthermore, HUD's most recent estimates find that homeless youth (ages 18-24) are more likely than all other homeless persons to be unsheltered-i.e., sleeping on the street, in cars, or abandoned buildings (Henry, Watt, Rosenthal, & Shivji, 2017). ...
... This means homeless youth are especially visible, and such visibility also increases their risk of "negative attention" from law enforcement (Chapple, Johnson, & Whitbeck, 2004). In addition to their higher rates of deviant/risky behaviors and increased street visibility (Bailey, Camlin, & Ennett, 1998;Chapple et al., 2004;Greene, Ennett, & Ringwalt, 1997;Johnson & Tyler, 2007;Yoder et al., 2003), homeless youths' risk of police contact is exacerbated by place-based policing strategies (largely motivated by broken windows theory) that criminalize the homeless simply for being homeless. Such initiatives have led to homeless persons being the target of differential enforcement of various laws as a means of discouraging them from settling in certain areas (Culhane, 2010). ...
Article
Homeless youth are at an increased risk of police contact—being stopped by police and arrested, yet it is less clear if this interaction is patterned by race. The current study draws on diverse scholarship to examine three possible effects of race on homeless youths’ interaction with police: that non-White homeless youth are more likely (disproportionate minority contact/symbolic assailants), less likely (out-of-place policing) or no different than White youth (master status) to experience police contact. Using the Midwest Longitudinal Study of Homeless Adolescents, we examine homeless youths’ odds of self-reported police harassment and arrest. Non-White homeless youth are more likely to report police harassment and arrest, but living on the street neutralizes these racial disparities. Further, prior police harassment is linked to subsequent arrest, operating similarly for White and non-White homeless youth. We discuss the implications of these findings for advancing scholarship on the challenges faced by homeless youth.
... unaccompanied youth are experiencing homelessness (Culhane, Metraux, Bryne, Stino, & Bainbridge, 2013). Many young people who are homeless engage in illicit behaviors (Cronley, Jeong, Davis, & Madden, 2015;Shillington et al., 2009), such as drug dealing (Whitbeck, Hoyt, Yoder, Cauce, & Paradise, 2001), property and violent crime (Cronley et al., 2015), gang activity (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003), and trading sex for resources (Cronley, Cimino, Hohn, Davis, & Madden, 2016;Gaetz & O'Grady, 2002), often in order to meet their basic needs. In addition, youth experiencing homelessness report high rates of mental health and substance use problems (Busen & Engebretson, 2008), physical and sexual abuse (Keeshin & Campbell, 2011), and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV (Ennett, Federman, Bailey, Ringwalt, & Hubbard, 1999), as well as lower academic achievement (Cauce et al., 2000;Obradović et al., 2009). ...
... This lack of formal social networks may explain why many of the youth resort to what is commonly viewed as deviant behavior. Without these systems, the youth rely on friends and street relationships to meet their basic needs, and gangs often provide these supports (Yoder et al., 2003). In considering the importance of informal social networks, however, resilience researchers may want to conduct more sophisticated network analyses to understand how informal street relationships help these youth to overcome and cope with adversity. ...
Article
This article systematically reviews studies exploring resilience among youth experiencing homelessness. We searched eight databases, and 21 articles fit the inclusion criteria and represented four methodologies: qualitative (n = 7, 33.3%), survey and secondary data analysis (n = 8, 38.1%), quantitative (n = 4, 19.1%), and mixed-method (n = 2, 9.5%) designs. Studies indicate that youth experiencing homelessness rely on informal social networks for survival, and that spirituality, mental health, and creativity are associated with enhanced coping. More experimental and intervention studies are necessary to support evidence-based resilience practices. Additionally, researchers need to exercise more self-awareness about how stereotypical pejorative paradigms may constrain innovative, strengths-based scholarship.
... Affiliation with pro-social peers predicts lower levels of psychological distress (Dang 2014) and depression (Bao et al. 2000). Relationships with deviant peers is a risk factor for depression and suicidal behavior (Rice et al. 2012;Yoder et al. 2003) as is social withdrawal (Kidd and Carroll 2007). ...
Article
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Suicide is the leading cause of death among youth experiencing homelessness, and these youth report high rates of suicide attempts. Research suggests that the interpersonal factors of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness are proximal causes of suicide, but little is known about factors associated with these risks. The current study examined the relationship of social network characteristics, perceived social network support, and interpersonal risks for suicide among a sample of 150 youth experiencing homelessness who reported severe suicide ideation. Findings indicate that characteristics of the social network, including engagement in crime and alcohol use, interrupted the potentially protective effects of high perceived social network support for interpersonal risk factors of suicide. Findings imply that increasing perceived social network support as a protection against suicide will not be uniformly successful, and consideration of the social network characteristics is necessary. Future work needs to continue to uncover the complexity of modifiable intervention targets to prevent future suicide attempts among this high-risk group.
... Complicating this picture is the fact that individuals experiencing an episode of homelessness are at higher risk for a host of other negative outcomes. Homeless individuals see increased odds of coming into contact with the criminal justice system [7][8][9], experiencing mental illness [10][11][12], being a victim of sexual exploitation [10,13,14], and acquiring sexually transmitted diseases [15]. Potential contributing causes are many. ...
Article
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Engaging in survival sex and mental illness are overrepresented within homeless populations. This article assesses the relationship between symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and engaging in survival sex among homeless women. One hundred and fifty-eight homeless women completed surveys on self-reported BPD symptomology and sexual history. Bivariate and multivariate analyses conducted in this study provided insights into the association of experiencing BPD symptoms and engaging in survival sex. Results indicate that some symptoms of BPD are robustly correlated with engaging in survival sex among homeless adult women. Implications for service agencies and others working with at-risk female populations are discussed.
... Moreover, for many youth, depression/suicidal behaviors are characterized as loss of one's ability to perceive reality and capacity to feel and externalize pain, which can manifest in violent behaviors (Garbarino, 1999;Modestin, Hug, & Ammann, 1997). According to one research finding, ganginvolved youth previously had elevated levels of depression and attempted suicide more frequently than did nongang youth (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). ...
Article
This study examines the risk and protective factors for gang involvement among subgroups of youth (i.e., current or former gang members, youth who resisted gang membership, and non-gang-involved youth) using the social-ecological framework. 17,366 middle and high school students from school districts in a large Midwestern county participated. Results indicated that males were more likely than females to be involved in gangs. For the individual context, our findings indicate that racial and ethnic minorities, females, and youth with depression/suicidal ideation are likely to be at risk for gang involvement. For the family context, we found that having gang-involved family members and family dysfunction are related to youth gang involvement. For the peer context, peers’ alcohol and drug use and bullying were significantly associated with gang involvement. For the school context, as our results demonstrate, youth who perceived fair treatment from teachers and other adults in school and those with a sense of belonging in school are more likely to avoid gang membership. For the neighborhood context, we found that presence of adult support in the neighborhood and perceived neighborhood safety are negatively associated with gang membership. Findings suggest that gang prevention efforts need to target multiple ecologies that surround and influence youth.
... Our findings align with ample literature showing that lack of close bonds with family may prompt youth to join street gangs to gain a feeling of belonging. 15,24,25,43,46 Furthermore, lack of family support and family problems were two of the most frequent reasons for dropping out of school, and gang members were more likely to have run away from home. These findings signal the urgent need for not only services that reach these adolescents at critical junctures before they may drop out of school but also programs that will help strengthen families living in strained and disadvantaged communities. ...
Article
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The southeastern US sustains the highest high school dropout rates, and gangs persist in underserved communities. African American female adolescents who drop out of school and are gang members are at substantial risk of exposure to severe violence, physical abuse, and sexual exploitation. In this study of 237 female African American adolescents 16–19 years of age from North Carolina who dropped out or considered dropping out, 11% were current or past gang members. Adolescents who reported gang membership began smoking marijuana at a mean age of 13, whereas those who reported no gang membership began at a mean age of 15 years (P<0.001). The mean ages of first alcohol use were 14 years and 15 years for gang members and non-gang members, respectively (P=0.04). Problem alcohol use was high in both groups: 40% and 65% for non-gang and gang members, respectively (P=0.02). Controlling for frequent marijuana use and problem alcohol use, adolescents who reported gang membership were more likely than non-gang members to experience sexual abuse (odds ratio [OR] =2.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] [1.06, 6.40]), experience physical abuse (OR =7.33, 95% CI [2.90, 18.5]), report emotional abuse from their main partner (OR =3.55, 95% CI [1.44, 8.72]), run away from home (OR =4.65, 95% CI [1.90, 11.4]), get arrested (OR =2.61, 95% CI [1.05, 6.47]), and report violence in their neighborhood including murder (OR =3.27, 95% CI [1.35, 7.96]) and fights with weapons (OR =3.06, 95% CI [1.15, 8.11]). Gang members were less likely to receive emotional support (OR =0.89, 95% CI [0.81, 0.97]). These findings reinforce the urgent need to reach young African American women in disadvantaged communities affiliated with gangs to address the complexity of context and interconnected risk behaviors.
... Youth rejected by family members may become entrenched in the revolving door of homelessness and face additional risks while living on the street. Specifically, homeless youth may become involved in street gangs as a means of survival, which further increases their involvement in violent and criminal behavior that can lead to jail or prison time (Yoder et al. 2003). Homeless young people are typically monitored and policed at a greater intensity than their housed counterparts, and homeless youths' behaviors are increasingly labeled as deviant in mainstream conceptualizations (Miles and Okamoto 2008). ...
Article
This paper explores the dynamics of caregiver rejection experienced by 40 homeless young adults 19–21 years of age. Using qualitative interviews, our findings reveal that nearly all of the youth reported at least one type of familial rejection that was intertwined with wider household conflict, and several youth experienced multiple types of rejection. Many young people reported “feeling like an outsider,” as they felt marginalized by family members and perceived a sense of outsiderness within their family networks. Some youth cited rejection when they were “betrayed by a primary caregiver for a significant other.” These intimate partners, such as a boyfriend, girlfriend or stepparent, often abused the young person, which exacerbated their experiences with caregiver rejection. Numerous youth were “pushed into institutional living,” such as foster care or group homes, at the behest of their primary caregivers, which stemmed from familial discord and behavioral issues on the part of the young person. In the most explicit form of rejection, youth were “kicked out by a caregiver” and subsequently entered into street life when they had nowhere else to go. Implications of these experiences are discussed, which can impact homeless young people’s future life chances as they attempt to exit the street.
... Juvenile delinquency also includes the social element in youngsters' criminal behavior (Bouchard & Spindler, 2010;Zhang, Welte, & Wieczorek, 1999). In the United States, at least one third of young criminals are members of a gang (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). It is an increasing problem in, for example, China as well, which has been explained with the structural changes of society, the increase in geographical movement, and the rise in of economic insecurity (Ngai, Cheung, & Ngai, 2007). ...
Article
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In this study, young prisoners' school memories were studied. The purpose of the study was to find out if small group teaching could help children in danger of exclusion. The following research questions were set for this study: (1) What was the transition process to small group teaching like according to the young prisoners' descriptions?; and (2) How did the small group teaching arrangement support school work according to the young prisoners' descriptions? Narratives of their school time from twenty-nine young prisoners, aged 17-21, Journal of Studies in Education 46 from two prisons in northern Finland were obtained through interviews. Small group teaching had represented a change toward better school satisfaction and well-being to all those who had been moved to such a group. The young prisoners' interviews pointed out several elements that make a successful small group teaching. These positively-perceived factors were communality and peer group, flexible and functional study methods, and caring, encouraging teachers. We combine the elements here as the pedagogy of preventing social exclusion (PPSE), which is introduced as the conclusion of this study.
... Individual factors such as prior delinquency (Esbensen 2000;Hill et al., 1999;Klein & Maxson, 2006), antisocial attitudes (e.g., negative views of the police, positive attitudes towards gangs and violence; Esbensen, 2000;Esbensen et al., 2009;Friedman, Mann, & Friedman, 1975;Hawkins et al., 2009), a history of aggressive behaviour (Dahlberg, 1998;Sanchez-Jankowski, 1991), a proclivity for excitement and trouble (Esbensen & Weerman, 2005), alcohol and drug use (e.g., Bjerregaard & Lizotte, 1995;Lizotte, Tesoriero, Thornberry, & Krohn, 1994), and non-delinquent problem behaviours (e.g., hyperactivity, reactivity, impulsivity, anger management problems) (Hill et al., 1999;Kosterman et al., 1996) increase the likelihood of youth gang involvement. Although research into gang involvement has been largely influenced by theories from criminology and sociology (Bennett & Holloway, 2004), psychological variables such as learning difficulties (Hill et al., 1999), high levels of anxiety, hyperactivity, mental health problems, history of suicide attempts (Dukes, Martinez, & Stein, 1997;Yoder, Whitbeck & Hoyt, 2003), low levels of empathy and remorse (Dupere et al., 2007), and the experience of traumatic or negative life events (e.g., Klein & Maxson, 2006) have been suggested to influence an inclination for gang membership. ...
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Bronfenbrenner’s social ecological model and Lerner’s youth positive development model were used to frame this study to guide the understanding of risk and protective factors associated with youth gang membership in a Canadian-based sample of male juvenile offenders (n = 112). Given the paucity of research on protective factors against gang involvement, attention in the current study was given to exploring whether there was overlap between known protective factors against violence and factors that may protect against youth involvement in gangs. Findings indicated that youth gang involvement was associated with an accumulation of risk factors in individual, peer, family, and community domains and an absence of protective factors in individual and family domains. In addition, some protective factors were found to aggravate the effects of risk factors on gang involvement in youth with psychopathic personality traits. Implications for theory and policy along with recommendations for future research are discussed.
... While experiences of sexual assault are relatively less prevalent, they are still quite common; among samples of homeless youth, at least 15% of homeless youth reported having been sexually assaulted, with rates ranging as high as 52% in some samples (Alder, 1991;Kipke, Simon, Montgomery, Unger, & Iversen, 1997;Whitbeck, Hoyt, & Ackley, 1997). Youth at greatest risk for victimization include those who move frequently (Ferguson, Bender, Thompson, Xie, & Pollio, 2012), engage in criminal acts (Tyler & Johnson, 2004), spend time with delinquent peers, remain on the streets for longer periods of time (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003), abuse substances (Bender, Ferguson, Thompson, Komlo, & Pollio, 2010), or engage in survival behaviors as a means of earning money or obtaining resources on the streets (Tyler, Hoyt, Whitbeck, & Cauce, 2001a, 2001bWhitbeck, Hoyt, & Bao, 2000;Whitbeck, Hoyt, & Yoder, 1999). ...
Article
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Homeless youth frequently experience victimization, and youth with histories of trauma often fail to detect danger risks, making them vulnerable to subsequent victimization. The current study describes a pilot test of a skills-based intervention designed to improve risk detection among homeless youth through focusing attention to internal, interpersonal, and environmental cues. Youth aged 18 to 21 years (N = 74) were recruited from a shelter and randomly assigned to receive usual case management services or usual services plus a 3-day manualized risk detection intervention. Pretest and posttest interviews assessed youths' risk detection abilities through vignettes describing risky situations and asking youth to identify risk cues present. Separate 2 (intervention vs. control) × 2 (pretest vs. posttest) mixed ANOVAs found significant interaction effects, as intervention youth significantly improved in overall risk detection compared with control youth. Post hoc subgroup analyses found the intervention had a greater effect for youth without previous experiences of indirect victimization than those with previous indirect victimization experiences.
... Others have noted that young people perceive living on the streets as no more dangerous than staying in their homes (Kim, Tajima, Herrenkohl, & Huang, 2009;Tyler & Cauce, 2002). Of note, runaway youth have been found to have a strong likelihood of becoming involved in delinquency, including offending and gang-involvement (Chen, Thrane, Whitbeck, & Johnson, 2006;Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). ...
Article
Approximately 35,000 people are reported missing each year in Australia; rates elsewhere are even higher, with a recent UK study suggesting that a person goes missing every 2 min. Missing persons place a significant burden on police services; it is interesting, therefore, that very little research attention has been paid to this topic. This mixed methods study aimed to address this significant gap by analysing the mental health and criminal justice histories of a sample of missing persons and comparing them to rates in the general community. The study found that both mental health and criminal justice histories were significantly overrepresented among missing persons compared to those in the general community, and that young people reported missing commonly displayed suicidal behaviour. Results highlight at risk groups and suggest that criminality is much more commonly implicated in missing person incidents than previously thought.
... Negative lifetime experiences may contribute to selfidentifying as homeless, although none of the ensuing experiences have been previously explored. Specifically, a large proportion of homeless young people have been in foster care (United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, 2010), have spent at least one day in jail or a juvenile detention center (Bender, Ferguson, Thompson, Komlo, & Pollio, 2010;Gwadz et al., 2009), and had either been involved in a gang or were gang members (Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). Many homeless young people have been victims of sexual abuse (Busen & Engebretson, 2008;Gwadz et al., 2009;Tyler, Cauce, & Whitbeck, 2004;Whitbeck, Chen, Hoyt, Tyler, & Johnson, 2004), physical abuse (Beech, Myers, & Beech, 2002;Busen & Engebretson, 2008;Gwadz et al., 2009;Tyler et al., 2004), and rape (Busen & Engebretson, 2008;Ennett, Federman, Bailey, Ringwalt, & Hubbard, 1999). ...
Article
Little is known about homeless young people’s identification of being homeless and how that identity may or may not be associated with service utilization. This study of 444 homeless young people attending Los Angeles area drop-in centers explores the associations of demographic characteristics, homelessness characteristics, negative lifetime experiences, mental health symptoms, technology use, and past month service utilization with identifying as homeless. Fifty-two percent of the sample identified as being homeless. Being Black, a current traveler, and history of injection drug use were all significantly associated with a decreased likelihood in identifying as homeless. However, having fair/poor health, accessing shelter services, and reporting one’s own substance use as a reason for homelessness were all significantly associated with identifying as homeless. There are important service implications for reaching young people who are in need of services but may not identify with the target population label of homeless.
... 84 While webs that include gangs may be adaptive for an individual young person in the short term, these webs ultimately remain maladaptive for long-term outcomes and for broader society. 85 To understand how to optimize webs of support for all youth, it is important to better understand how different positive and negative agents in a web work together or against one another and how they affect developmental outcomes. ...
... Individuals who were exposed to one adversity in childhood are more likely to experience a second adversity later in life (Dong et al., 2004). Researchers have identified a series of risk factors that homeless youth often experience such as maltreatment, depression, survival sex, and substance use, and gang involvement (Cauce, Tyler, & Whitbeck, 2004;Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003;Zerger, Strehlow, & Gundlapalli, 2008). Adversities are not only highly correlated with each other and with homelessness, but also with the onset and persistence of psychiatric disorders (Lehmann et al., 2007;Lim et al., 2015). ...
Article
Objective: Non-service connected, continuously homeless youth are arguably one of the most vulnerable populations in the U.S. These youth reside at society's margins experiencing an accumulation of risks over time. Research concludes that as vulnerabilities increase so do poor long-term outcomes. This study tested the mediating effects of service connection and personal control as mediators of cumulative risk and housing, health and mental health outcomes. By understanding the processes associated with therapeutic change among those with the most vulnerabilities, service providers and researchers can target those factors to enhance positive outcomes. Method: Seventy-nine, non-service connected, substance using homeless youth were offered a strengths-based outreach and engagement intervention and were assessed at baseline 3, 6 and 9 months post-baseline. Results: Personal control mediated the effects of cumulative risk on housing stability, and service utilization mediated the effects of cumulative risk on mental health. Conclusions: This study specifies important targets of intervention for a population at high risk for continuing homelessness. In particular, service providers should target youths' sense of personal control and link them to needed community-based services in order to help them exit street life and improve mental health outcomes.
... A history of familial abuse as well as other victimization experiences have been linked to an increased likelihood of gang membership among female youth. Much research demonstrates that female gang members have been victims of physical abuse and have witnessed domestic violence at home and are more likely to have experienced physical and sexual abuse than young women who do not join gangs (Allen, 2013;De La Rue & Espelage, 2014;Fleisher & Krienert, 2004;Hunt et al., 2000;Miller, 2002b;Molidor, 1996;Yoder et al., 2003). Given the victimizations they face at the hands of family members and other adults, it is unsurprising that a common theme among gang-involved girls is that their gang acts as a surrogate family (Chesney-Lind et al., 1996;Joe & Chesney-Lind, 1995;Molidor, 1996;Moloney, Hunt, Joe-Laidler, & MacKensize, 2011). ...
... Additionally, a higher proportion of gang members in schools was associated with a higher rate of weapon involvement. The literature has shown an association between youth homelessness and gang membership (Petering, 2016;Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). This means that homeless students who are gang involved should receive unique consideration regarding interventions for school violence and especially weapon involvement. ...
... For instance, much research has demonstrated that youth facing large amounts of adversity sometimes seek gang membership for survival (Hagan and McCarthy 1997;Kipke et al. 1997); find companionship, social support, and acceptance in gangs (Jankowski 2001); and have higher self-esteem than non-gang youth (Evans and Mason 1996). While webs that include gangs may be adaptive for an individual youth in the short term, such webs ultimately remain maladaptive for long-term outcomes and for broader society (Yoder et al. 2003). To understand how to optimize webs of support for all youth, researchers must better understand how different positive and negative agents in a web work together or against one another and how they affect developmental outcomes. ...
Article
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Supportive relationships promote positive academic, behavioral, and psychological outcomes, while also buffering against negative outcomes. Traditionally, there has been a schism in how developmental scientists study relationships, with studies focused either on relationship quality and supports within dyads or general structures of relationships and social capital across social networks. While these lines of research provide insight into the power of relationships, resources, and networks for youth, they have not fully captured how relationships and resources operate in a relational developmental system. Drawing from relationship, social support, social capital, and social network literatures, this article presents a new framework, webs of support, to actualize how relationships and resources optimally operate to promote more accurate examinations of how adolescents gain the developmental supports necessary to thrive. This article also discusses implications and poses larger questions about the use of this framework in research and practice.
... These findings remain even when gang members are compared to high-risk peers. In one sample of homeless youth, gang members were more likely than peers to have been threatened with a weapon or injured by a caretaker who used a weapon (Yoder et al. 2003). Another study found that relative to other delinquent peers, gang members are more likely to be exposed to trauma, including domestic violence (Kerig et al. 2016). ...
Chapter
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This chapter examines gang violence across the life course. Gang members are often exposed to violence at an early age, but joining a gang increases their participation in and exposure to violence. The prevalence of violence in gang life is then influenced by the intersection of ecological, cultural, social psychological, and psychological factors, which increase the probability gang members will be exposed to potentially violent situations and guide their options for managing such situations. This chapter, therefore, examines how these intersecting elements of gang life influence gang members and contribute to gang violence.
... Although support for psychological risk factors and gang membership has been less uniform than for other individual factors (Lenzi et al., 2015), there is some evidence that aggression, oppositional behaviors, hyperactive behaviors, depression, and low self-esteem may be associated with gang involvement (Craig, Vitaro, Gagnon, & Tremblay, 2002;Donnellan, Trzesniewski, Robins, Moffitt, & Caspi, 2005;Hill et al., 2001;Merrin et al., 2015;Yoder, Whitbeck, & Hoyt, 2003). However, the findings are not always consistent. ...
Article
The existing literature on gangs has largely focused on boys from the United States. Using data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), this study investigated select individual, peer, and community risk factors that differentiate gang and nongang girls in the United Kingdom. We find that 48.3% of gang-involved youth were girls, and that gang girls commit more crime than nongang girls. Furthermore, girls who live in socially disorganized neighborhoods are more likely to be members of gangs. The current research suggests that focusing on girls’ community environments may be beneficial to reducing gangs in the United Kingdom.
Article
Homeless youth frequently meet diagnosis criteria for depressive and/or substance use disorder(s). Although prior research has established that both social connectedness and self-efficacy buffer vulnerable youth’s adverse health outcomes, few studies have compared the potential of these protective factors on homeless youth’s mental well-being. The current study analyzes comparative effects of social connectedness and self-efficacy on meeting criteria for major depressive disorder, substance use disorder, and the co-occurrence of both disorders among a sample of 601 service-seeking homeless youth in Austin, Denver, and Los Angeles. Hierarchical logistic regressions indicate that while both social connectedness and self-efficacy constructs are valuable protective factors, social connectedness may offer greater utility, particularly in buffering against more complex mental health outcomes, such as the co-occurrence of depressive and substance use disorders. Accordingly, resource-strapped homeless youth service providers and researchers may benefit from tailoring mental health intervention strategies to further emphasize social connectedness in future efforts.
Chapter
This chapter outlines a demand-oriented approach to gang joining, wherein gangs are conceptualized as providers of goods and services not available in a market and gang members are conceptualized as consumers of said goods and services. Such a demand-oriented approach is predicated on a few assumptions. First, gangs cannot grow ad infinitum because they depend on finite resources such as territory. Second, gangs are not fully open to the public and much of the information concerning their business remains confined within the group. The chapter reviews the "state" of gang membership and existing criminological theories of gang joining in relation to risk factors and attractions that increase young people's propensity to join gangs. There are essentially four general theories of crime that best apply to gang involvement: criminal propensity/trait theory, social bond theory, strain theory, and social learning theory.
Article
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This study takes stock of empirical research examining the relationship between gang membership and offending by subjecting this large body of work to a meta-analysis. Multilevel modeling is used to determine the overall mean effect size of this relationship based on 1,649 effect size estimates drawn from 179 empirical studies and 107 independent data sets. The findings indicate that there is a fairly strong relationship between gang membership and offending (Mz = .227, confidence interval [CI] = [.198, .253]). Bivariate and multivariate moderator analyses not only reveal that this relationship is robust across the vast majority of methodological variations but also show that the gang membership–offending link is stronger when studying active gang members, and weaker in prospective research designs, non-U.S. samples, and when controlling for theoretical confounders and mediators. These results affirm the efforts of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to understand and respond to gang behaviors, and are used to identify aspects of this literature that are most worthy of continued attention.
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Despite such high rates of unemployment, there is limited research concerning homeless young people's employment histories and the barriers they face in gaining and maintaining employment. Similarly, traditional services to homeless young adults-including outreach, basic-center services and transitional-living facilities-lack strong theoretical traditions and evidence regarding their effectiveness in helping these young people gain and maintain employment. Evidence-based and evidence-informed employment models for this population are largely lacking. This chapter provides an overview of the homeless young-adult population in the United States and the factors that influence their unemployment. Next, a review of traditional services is provided. Given the lack of evidence-based and evidence-informed employment models for this population, the primary employment models with adults with mental illness (i.e., supported employment and social enterprises) are reviewed. Guidelines are then provided for researchers and practitioners working with homeless young people regarding employment intervention development. Two intervention strategies are presented: 1) adapting an existing evidence-based employment intervention for adults to use with homeless young people and 2) developing a new evidence-informed employment intervention with agency practitioners and homeless young adults.
Book
This book deals with street children who live in the developing world, and homeless youth who are from the developed world. They are referred to as children in street situations (CSS) to show that the problem is both in the children and in the situation they face. The book examines several aspects of the children and their street situations, including the families of origin and the homes they leave, the children's social life, and mental health. Other aspects are the problems of published demographics, the construction of public opinion about these children and the, often violent, reactions from authorities. The book then discusses current research on children in street situations, as well as programs and policies. The book ends with recommendations about programs, policies and research. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014. All rights are reserved.
Article
The current study examined the perspectives of homeless youth on their life experiences using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological-developmental framework. Fifteen youth (18-24 years) were recruited from the streets and homeless serving agencies in a mid-western city in the US. They participated in a life history interview that covered topics including the lived experiences of youth with their family, school, friends, and children’s services, daily struggles, resources, personal strengths, and future hopes. The findings of this study illustrate that several factors such as family issues, feeling alienated at school, association with peers involved in delinquent activities, struggles in children’s services, major life events, economic downturn, and cultural ideologies influence homelessness among youth.
Article
Using longitudinal data from a British longitudinal cohort study (ALSPAC), the current study examines “developmental domains” from individual, peer, and community risk factors. Using four logistic regression models, we looked at 10 correlations between children’s experience with risk factors outlined by the literature and criminal gang association. Gang membership was associated with drug use, delinquent peers, and disorganized neighborhoods. Further, early diagnoses of childhood aggression, ADHD, depression, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, were not associated with later, adolescent youth gang membership. Our results suggest community based programs that stem from social learning policies and collective efficacy militate against gang growth.
Article
Research on the risk factors associated with gang joining suggests that the best predictor of gang membership is the accumulation of risk factors across a number of domains. These same risk factors are also associated with poor mental health and suicide, suggesting that gang members may be at risk for these outcomes. The current study utilized a nationally representative sample to examine two related issues. First, do youth who later become gang involved report levels of self-esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts, and attempted suicide that are substantively different than the general population? Second, how does gang membership affect these indicators of mental health? Results suggest that youth who become gang involved have significantly higher levels of depression and report a substantively higher rate of suicidal thoughts and behaviors than comparison youth. Furthermore, membership in gangs exacerbates these underlying problems, creating higher levels of depression and a higher prevalence of suicidal thoughts and actions.
Chapter
One of the greatest concerns of any society is the well-being of its children, including its adolescents. “Making the transition from childhood to adulthood is a troublesome life-course stage in nearly every society. However, this problem is exacerbated in advanced modernized societies where movement into full adulthood continues to be pushed into older ages, creating a longer and more difficult transition. One result of this characteristic of modern societies is the increased misbehavior and other problems associated with those going through this difficult transition stage.
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Substance use is a frequently cited health risk behavior in the youth gang literature, yet little is known about how substance use experiences vary among gang-involved youth. Developing relevant and effective service approaches will require an understanding of this variation and the contextual factors that are likely to influence particular patterns of use. Using latent class analysis, we identified four substance use classes within a school-based sample of gang-involved youth (n = 2,770): Non-Users (38%), Past Users (15%), Casual Users (27%), and Frequent Multi-Users (21%). These classes were distinguished by substance type, frequency of use, and source of access. Demographic and substance use-specific ecological factors across the family, peer, school, and neighborhood contexts were found to significantly differentiate these classes. Specifically, acceptance of use by parents, friends, and neighbors, along with a lack of family rules and high accessibility in the neighborhood, significantly differentiated use patterns. Findings highlight the need for service approaches that are responsive to both the unique needs of individual gang-involved youth and their environments. Implications for practice are discussed, including the potential utility of a harm reduction service framework to address the spectrum of youth gang substance use.
Article
Gang violence has increased in recent years. Individuals appear to be joining gangs at younger ages, and many have suffered historic maltreatment. Subsequent exposure to violence can result in profound consequences, including acute psychological harm. This review aims to identify predictive risk factors for male street gang affiliation. A systematic literature search was conducted utilising PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Medline, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Social Policy and Practice databases (from the databases’ inception to 3 April 2015). From this search, n = 244 peer-reviewed papers were included in an initial scoping review, and n = 102 thereafter met criteria for a systematic review; a narrative synthesis follows. Gang members have typically faced numerous historic adversities across multiple domains; individual, family, peers, school and community. Cumulative factors generated an independent risk. The meta-narrative described an overarching failure to safeguard vulnerable individuals, with the motivation for gang affiliation hypothetically arising from an attempt to have their basic needs met. Clinical and research recommendations were made to inform early intervention policy and practice.
Article
The present study evaluates adolescent gang involvement using cross-sectional survey data from 1,475 adolescents living in a disadvantaged Comuna in Medellin, Colombia. Specifically, we examine the prevalence of former and current gang membership, affiliation with gang members, and lives untouched by any gang association. Once these groups are established, we identify variation in membership on the basis of demographic and theoretical variables, and determine whether such variation can be described by using the selection, facilitation, and enhancement models developed by Thornberry et al. While our results, consistent with many prior findings using North American samples, support the selection model for most theoretical variables and enhancement for behavioral outcomes, our strongest contribution is our study’s ability to demonstrate the temporal impact of gang involvement.
Chapter
This chapter considers youth offending and youth justice in contemporary China noting significant changes due to the rapid economic transformation. Once famous for its low crime rates, the apparent rapid rise in Chinese juvenile delinquency has left the media 'wondering what transformed these little "flowers of the motherland" into "carnivorous plants". The chapter charts changes from the yanda (hard strikes) crackdown in 1983 to the highly publicised anti-crime crackdown in Chongqing. Despite limited data, a picture is emerging of changing influence of triads and altered relationships between organised crime and street gangs, noting street gangs are increasing due to an influx of rural migrants to the mega-cities. The chapter touches upon the risk factors and emergent arguments of this contemporary phenomenon, noting that Zhang et al (1997:299) has suggested that 'China is in an early stage of gang development' possibly equivalent to the USA from 1930s to the 1960s.
Article
The primary aim of this article is to examine the role of triad affiliation in mediating the relationship between child maltreatment (neglect, punishment, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse) and delinquency among active young gang members in Hong Kong. A sample of 177 gang members aged 12 to 24 was recruited to complete a questionnaire with the assistance of a youth outreach social work team. Neglect was identified as the most common form of maltreatment, followed by emotional abuse, punishment, and sexual abuse. Mediation analyses confirmed that triad affiliation acts as a mediating variable in the child maltreatment–delinquency relationship, except in cases of sexual abuse. Only the relationship between punishment and delinquency was found to be fully mediated by triad affiliation; partial mediation effects were found for neglect and emotional abuse. Recommendations for child protection and youth workers are provided.
Article
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Excluding students from school remains a common form of punishment despite growing critique of the practice. A disparate research base has impeded the ability to make broader assessments on the association between exclusionary discipline (i.e., suspensions and expulsions) and subsequent behavior. This article synthesizes existing empirical evidence (274 effect sizes from 40 primary studies) examining the relationship between exclusionary discipline and delinquent outcomes, including school misconduct/infractions, antisocial behavior, involvement with the justice system, and risky behaviors. This meta-analysis identifies exclusionary discipline as an important and meaningful predictor of increased delinquency. Additional examinations of potential moderators, including race/ethnicity and type of exclusion, revealed no significant differences, suggesting the harm associated with exclusions is consistent across subgroups. These findings indicate exclusionary discipline may inadvertently exacerbate rather than mollify delinquent behaviors.
Article
Background: Research is scarce regarding homeless students' school-violence experiences, specifically while considering the role of school-climate and the different groups within the homeless student population. Understanding the relation between school-violence and school-climate might help towards the development of support for homeless students. Objective: Examine the association between school-climate components, homelessness and school discriminatory bullying, behavioral victimization and weapon involvement at the student and school levels. Participants: 389,569 high school students and 811 schools from a representative California statewide sample (2011-2013). Methods: Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine differences between the subgroups of homeless students as compared to nonhomeless students. Hierarchical logistic regressions were conducted to examine the relation between school-climate and discriminatory bullying, behavioral victimization and weapon involvement in school at the individual level, and hierarchical linear regressions were conducted at the school level. Results: At the student level adding school-climate dimensions contributed significantly to each outcome. Positive school-climate was associated with lower rates of all school-violence outcomes. Safety, positive relationship and connectedness were all significantly negatively associated with the outcomes, especially safety. At the school level, the partial linear regression coefficient of school-climate is negative and significantly (p < .001) decreases discriminatory bullying, behavioral discrimination and gun involvement. Conclusion: Positive school-climate serves as a protective factor for homeless students with regards to school violence outcomes. Enhancing whole-school interventions improving school-climate at the school level, would benefit students experiencing homelessness.
Chapter
Homeless youth face numerous challenging life circumstances, both prior to leaving home and while homeless. Examples of such difficult experiences include exceptionally high rates of pregnancy and early parenthood, particularly in comparison to their housed peers. This chapter reviews the complexity of causes, risk factors, and adverse outcomes associated with homeless youth pregnancy and early parenthood. Homeless youth pregnancy and early parenthood are notably under-researched topics, and as homeless youth have unique and complex life experiences, this chapter also highlights opportunities for further advancing culturally responsive prevention and intervention services in efforts to more effectively decrease pregnancies and improve sexual, reproductive, maternal-child health, and parenting outcomes among this highly vulnerable population.
Chapter
This chapter is divided by street children’s and homeless youth’s interactions with the public into their intra group behavior and their relationships outside of their own subculture. This means from their intimate same sex dyads, to their behavior when they are only among themselves, to their role in their local culture given ihems historical record, and finally to their role in the global youth culture. Children in street situations often begin with an affectionate same sex relationship with one other child. Through these dyads the children are incorporated into the group. Amongst themselves they have a complex set of rules of reciprocity. Group behavior of street children and homeless youth in street situations differs by gender. Females are often portrayed as engaging in sex for money while the boys are portrayed as bullies and “johns”. Research suggests that the survival strategies of girls are incompatible with professional prostitution and that boys have reason to avoid abusing them. While children in street situations use a variety of drugs, from inhalants to heroin, a good part of their use is more than for getting high, they also use them for belonging to the group. Street children and homeless youth look and act differently than gang members. Groups of street children and homeless youth are not organized around a common ethnicity, crime often defines the gang, but crime is usually opportunistic among groups of street children and homeless youth. Gangs are delinquent and deviant, street children are deviant and not very delinquent. Societal reactions to street children and homeless youth are based on a moral view of childhood and child rearing practices. What behaviors the public allows and which are considered inappropriate, molds the children’s public persona, and self concept. Societal reaction to life for both homeless youth and street children fluctuates between extreme violence; indifference and assistance. In the most extreme cases, torture and killings of street children have been perpetrated. The biggest fears of children in street situations are worldwide are the police. Across cultures street children and homeless youth are among the most marginalized. The public associates them with violence and react pejoratively. Because of the numbers of street children in some societies is large they can manipulate public opinion, which they often (and perhaps surprisingly) do by behaving in a way that encourages society to view them pejoratively. This gives them two advantages; it makes them stronger as a sub culture, it focuses the fear society has of them, inadvertently becoming freer from the image of a protected domiciled childhood. Because of the proportional scarcity of homeless youth, and being more abused and being from a culture with few roles for homeless youth they occupy they have little ability to roam and earn money. They rely more on the state. Groups of street children are found in differing degrees in different cultures, making it hard to understand the relationship between the state and street children. A state’s commitment to universal equal health care correlates with healthier children and families, and less street children. The current internationalization of the problem of street children and homeless led to the passage of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), and later the “Children’s Movement”.
Article
Objective: Adult gang members have higher substance misuse and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) prevalence than non-gang involved individuals. The authors aimed to understand UK gang membership demographics and estimate substance misuse and ACE prevalence among a community-based sample of children and young people (CYP) contrasting three groups; gang members, periphery and non-gang involved. Method: The authors used the 2006 Offending, Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) cross-sectional dataset, containing gang involvement, ACE exposure and substance misuse data, sampling 2,443 individuals aged 13–17 years. Gang membership was self-identified. Gang periphery was CYP identifying as gang involved according to the Eurogang Youth survey questionnaire, but not self-identifying as members. Other CYP were non-gang involved. Results: Gang periphery participants were significantly more likely to misuse all substance types than non-gang involved CYP. The substance misuse likelihood was greatest for gang peripherals, then members, then non-gang involved. Gang periphery and members were significantly more likely to have been a victim of serious assault, less serious assault, any assault, any violence and to have committed any violent act in the last year than non-gang involved. Conclusions: This is the first study comparing ACE exposure and substance misuse prevalence among the UK, community-based CYP sample. Current research highlights younger children with complex needs, including girls, risk gang involvement and requires tailored support to enable safe exit from gangs. Factors relating to gang involvement, ACEs and substance misuse are interlinked and complex, demanding a holistic approach to support across education, children’s social services, health and criminal justice settings.
Article
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents; a frequent precursor of suicide is suicidal ideation (SI). Literature indicates that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and SI are robust cross-sectional correlates of one another, with PTSD often being conceptualized as a risk factor (i.e., conferring risk) for SI. Indeed, PTSD is a well-established risk factor for SI; however, SI is an understudied risk factor for PTSD. It is possible that, yet unknown if, PTSD and SI promote each other over time in a bidirectional fashion. We investigated the bidirectional longitudinal associations between PTSD and SI in a large, diverse sample, who at baseline were adolescents. Participants were interviewed between 1995-1998 and again between 2004-2008. We hypothesized that PTSD and SI would be cross-sectionally, longitudinally, and bidirectionally related and that the number of traumas endorsed at baseline would be positively associated with PTSD and SI at baseline and follow-up. Indeed, PTSD and SI were cross-sectionally correlated at baseline, but not follow-up. PTSD predicted SI over nine years; however, SI during adolescence did not predict PTSD in adulthood. Finally, poly-trauma endorsed at baseline was associated with increased risk of SI, but not PTSD, over nine years.
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Die Aufnahme des Themas „Suizid“ in ein Handbuch soziale Probleme lässt sich nicht mehr so selbstverständlich wie in früheren Jahrzehnten begründen, weil sowohl die Zahl der Suizidfälle zurückgegangen ist als auch der moralische Diskurs über den Suizid deutlich an Schärfe verloren hat.
Article
This study aimed to create a measure of risk for gang affiliation, for use in the UK. A pilot stage invited gang affiliated and non-gang affiliated participants between the ages of 16–25 years to retrospectively self-report on 58 items of risk exposure at the age of 11 years. Based on performance of these items, a 26-item measure was developed and administered to a main study sample (n = 185) of gang affiliated and non-gang affiliated participants. Categorical Principal Component Analysis was applied to data, yielding a single-factor solution (historic lack of safety and current perception of threat). A 15-item gang affiliation risk measure (GARM) was subsequently created. The GARM demonstrated good internal consistency, construct validity and discriminative ability. Items from the GARM were then transformed to read prospectively, resulting in a test measure for predictive purposes (T-GARM). The T-GARM requires further validation regarding its predictive utility and generalisability. However, this study has resulted in the first measure of gang affiliation, with promising results.
Article
Background Among the more than 400,000 children in foster care, there is a small group who will run away from care and face increased risks of negative outcomes. Previous studies on the predictors of running away from care use limited samples or outdated data. Objective The present study replicates and extends prior research by presenting an updated analysis of predictors of running away from foster care as well as 10-year trends in the prevalence and predictors of running from care. Participants and setting This study uses the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data to assess the runaway status of 597,911 children who were involved in foster care in 2019. Longitudinal trend analyses utilize AFCARS data from 2010 to 2019. Method Using chi-square/t-tests and binary logistic regression analyses, this study investigates individual- and case-level predictors of running away from foster care programs. Results Findings show that girls (OR = 1.29, p < .001), African American children (OR = 1.89, p < .001), and older children (OR = 1.61, p < .001) are at increased risk of running away from foster care. Removal reasons such as child substance abuse (OR = 1.65, p < .001), abandonment (OR = 1.38, p < .001), and child behavioral problems (OR = 1.31, p < .001) are also associated with an increased risk. Analysis of 10-year trends shows a steady decline in running from care: 1.40% in 2010 to 0.98% in 2019. The profile of risk factors is stable overall, with a few notable exceptions. Conclusions The percent of children running from foster care is at a 10-year low. Prevention and intervention efforts regarding running from care must focus on the needs of African American and Hispanic children, especially girls, as well as children with substance use or behavior problems. Given that programs rarely have prospective information regarding why children leave care and the negative consequences of labeling children as “runaways,” shifting language to “missing from care” should be considered.
Article
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The majority of research on adolescent gangs has focused on delineating the correlates of gang membership. This research provides important insight into who joins gangs; however, it tells us little about why adolescents join gangs. The present endeavor utilized a free response survey to investigate the motives or reasons that adolescent males have for initially entering a gang. Participants were recruited from a residential treatment facility for adolescent male wards of the state of Michigan. The reasons most cited for joining a gang included 1) gain a second or surrogate family, 2) power, 3) acceptance, and 4) excitement/fun. Contrary to expectations, few participants stated that peer pressure or influence played a role in their decision to join a gang; rather, a desire for a close, familial relationship and for acceptance from others (specifically, other gang members) seemed to be the primary reasons these young men entered gangs.
Article
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Explanations of gang membership were studied in a population of 11,000 secondary school students. Lower self-esteem, perceived academic ability, psychosocial health, and bonds with institutions appeared to precede gang membership (selection model). Greater drug use, greater delinquency, greater fear of harm, and being armed were precursors and consequences of gang membership (facilitation and selection models). “Wannabes” were partway between nonmembers and members. Findings were consistent with gang membership as a result of lack of social integration.
Article
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Social learning theory has been applied to a wide variety of criminal, delinquent, and deviant behavior. The current study examines the utility of applying selected elements of the theory to the examination of youth gangs. The subjects consist of a stratified random sample of male and female 9th-grade public school students living in a southwestern state. Following the logic of Akers' variant of social learning theory, we ask the following question: To what extent are attitudes toward gangs and gang activity, social reinforcers and punishers, and differential associations linked to self-reported gang involvement and gang-related delinquency? We found that the social learning perspective provided considerable insights into gang membership. Our analysis of group-context offending was related to both social learning theory and gang membership. Other forms of self-reported delinquency, however, while linked to social learning theory, were unrelated to gang membership. These findings portend significant theoretical and policy implications for future studies of youth gangs.
Article
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This study examines alternative explanations for why gang members are more likely to have higher rates of serious and violent crime than nongang members. Specifically, three models are posited: (a) a selection or “kind of person” model; (b) a social facilitation or “kind of group” model; and (c) an enhancement model that combines aspects of the selection and social facilitation models. Each model has different implications for the rate of delinquency and drug use of gang members before, during, and after membership in a gang. Data from the Rochester Youth Development Study, a panel study that overrepresents adolescents at high risk for serious delinquent behavior and drug use, are used to compare these models. Findings indicate that gang members, as compared to nongang members, did not have higher rates of delinquent behavior or drug use before entering the gang, but once they became members, their rates increased substantially. Moreover, when gang members left the gang their rates of delinquency typically were reduced. These results are interpreted as being supportive of the social facilitation model.
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The differences between the families of youths who are gang members versus youths not in gangs were investigated. Data were collected from thirty mothers using a semi-structured interview. Results indicated that family related variables distinguish the families of gang members from the control families. Specifically, youths in gangs are more likely to come from families which put less emphasis on intrafamilial socialization, youth supervision, and outward expression of affection. Furthermore, mothers of youths who were gang members appeared more dissatisfied and fatalistic. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Development of research on intrafamily conflict and violence requires both conceptual clarity and measures of the concepts. The introduction to this paper therefore seeks to clarify and distinguish the concepts of "conflict," "conflict of interest," "hostility," and "violence." The main part of the paper describes the Conflict Tactics (CT) Scales. The CT Scales are designed to measure the use of Reasoning, Verbal Aggression, and Violence within the family. Information is presented on the following aspects of this instrument: theoretical rational, acceptability to respondents, scoring, factor structure, reliability, validity, and norms for a nationally representative sample of 2,143 couples.
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The CES-D scale is a short self-report scale designed to measure depressive symptomatology in the general population. The items of the scale are symptoms associated with depression which have been used in previously validated longer scales. The new scale was tested in household interview surveys and in psychiatric settings. It was found to have very high internal consistency and adequate test- retest repeatability. Validity was established by pat terns of correlations with other self-report measures, by correlations with clinical ratings of depression, and by relationships with other variables which support its construct validity. Reliability, validity, and factor structure were similar across a wide variety of demographic characteristics in the general population samples tested. The scale should be a useful tool for epidemiologic studies of de pression.
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This article reports findings from the initial phase of an ongoing study of runaway and homeless adolescents in four Midwestern states. One hundred eight homeless and runaway adolescents were interviewed directly on the streets and in shelters by outreach workers in youth services agencies. Levels of physical and sexual abuse within family of origin, participation in deviant subsistence strategies, and levels of victimization while on the streets are reported. Path analysis indicated that abusive family backgrounds had a positive direct effect on victimization of adolescents on the streets, and indirectly increased the likelihood of victimization by increasing the amount of time at risk, deviant peer associations, and risky behaviors.
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Interviewed 44 female and 40 male runaway and homeless adolescents (aged 14–18 yrs) to determine if adolescents who had been victimized in the home would be more at risk on the streets. Findings show that victimization on the streets is mediated by the behavioral consequences of parental abuse. Homeless Ss who had been abused were more likely to be multiple runaways, more likely to associate with deviant friends, and more likely to engage in deviant behaviors to support themselves on the streets. It was these behaviors, the results of aggressive, coercive parenting, that contributed to placing these adolescents at greater risk for victimization on the street. For young women, increased exposure to the environment of the streets increased risk. For young men, deviant peer group affiliations affected victimization directly and indirectly through delinquent behaviors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A model was presented describing the reciprocal influence of disruptions in parent discipline practices on irritable exchanges between the target child and other family members. Disrupted parent discipline and irritable microsocial exchanges within the family were hypothesized to provide a basic training for aggression that generalizes to other settings such that the child is identified by peers, teachers, and parents as physically aggressive. Physical fighting was thought to lead to rejection by the normal peer group, which was hypothesized to feed back to further exacerbate fighting.Multilevel assessment including interview, questionnaires, laboratory studies, and home observations were carried out with the families of 91 preadolescent and adolescent boys. Nine indicators from the assessment battery were used to define the constructs Inept Parental Discipline, Negative Microsocial Exchanges, Physical Fighting, and Poor Peer Relations. Structural equations (LISREL VI) were used to describe the relations among the constructs. The t values for the path coefficients were significant. A chi-square analysis showed an acceptable fit between the model and the empirical findings.The findings were interpreted as being consistent with the hypothesis that under certain circumstances, family interaction may serve as basic training for aggression. In the present study, interactions with siblings in the home seemed to serve a pivotal role.
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This research was intended to elucidate the nature and extent of victimization of gang affiliated youths in comparison with non gang control subjects. Street gang members were compared with a matched group of non members from the same neighborhoods on self reports of illegal, and sometimes dangerous, acts which they were forced to commit by gang members.
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Juvenile gang members present serious problems to society, yet few empirical studies have examined their criminal activity, family relations, and peer relations in comparison with other highly antisocial youths. In a 2 (Gang Membership) x 2 (Ethnicity: Hispanic-American vs. Caucasian) design, 131 incarcerated male juvenile offenders were administered a battery assessing criminal activity, family relations, and peer relations. Results demonstrated (a) higher rates of criminal behavior (i.e., general delinquency, index offenses, school delinquency) among gang members than among offenders who did not belong to gangs, (b) higher rates of general delinquency and home delinquency among Caucasian offenders than among Hispanic-American offenders, and (c) greater aggression and less social maturity in the peer relations of gang members than in the peer relations of offenders who did not belong to gangs. In addition, gang membership mediated sociocultural differences in hard drug use. Findings are integrated with the extant literature.
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All initial visits (N = 765) to an outpatient medical clinic during calendar year 1985 were analyzed. Six hundred and fifty-five of these visits made by non-runaway youth were compared to 110 visits made by runaways. Based on data from the Childrens Hospital Adolescent Risk Profile Interview, runaway street youth are at greater risk for a wide variety of medical problems and of health-compromising behaviors including suicide and depression, prostitution, and drug use. The implications for public health and social policy are discussed.
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A large portion of the research carried out to date on juvenile delinquency and gang behavior has been concentrated on male delinquents. For example, Thrasher's study (1927) of 1,313 gangs in Chicago devoted less than a page to the question of whether or not females form gangs in the same way that males do. When females are included in delinquency studies, their behavior is almost always explained in psychological or social-psychological terms. The general reasoning is that females commit delinquent acts or join delinquent gangs because they are socially maladjusted, come from broken and unhappy homes, and do not relate well to the opposite sex. In this article, we juxtapose this theoretical perspective to a social structural explanation of both female juvenile delinquency and female gang membership, and then test these two alternative explanations for juvenile delinquency using data on black, female juveniles collected in Los Angeles during the mid-1960s.
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One hundred and fifty-six homeless adolescents and 319 homeless adults interviewed directly on the streets and in shelters were compared for backgrounds of abuse, adaptations to life on the streets, and rates of criminal victimization when on the streets. Homeless adolescents were more likely to be from abusive family backgrounds, more likely to rely on deviant survival strategies, and more likely to be criminally victimized. A social learning model of adaptation and victimization on the streets was hypothesized. Although the model was supported for both homeless adults and adolescents, it was more strongly supported for adolescents than adults, and for males than females regardless of age.
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Despite recent surveys reporting a decline in adolescents' use of alcohol and other drugs in the general population, substance abuse may actually be increasing among particular subgroups of high-risk youth. This study examined the prevalence of alcohol and other drug use reported by 1121 youth, ages 12-24 years, seen for an initial medical visit at a free community-based primary health clinic. The clinic, located in the Hollywood/Wilshire area of Los Angeles, serves both homeless (62%) and non-homeless (38%) youth. Bivariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the homeless youth were significantly more likely to report use of alcohol and illicit drugs (marijuana, stimulants, hallucinogens, and narcotics) and prior involvement in injecting drug use (IDU). Variables found to be significantly associated with substance use among the homeless youth included length of time homeless, an attempted suicide, physical and sexual abuse, and involvement in survival sex/prostitution. Among the non-homeless youth, age of first intercourse, a previous suicide attempt, and a history of physical and sexual abuse were significantly associated with substance use. These findings suggest that rates of alcohol and other drug use may be higher among youth seen at community-based primary health clinics, particularly homeless youth underscoring the need for screening for these risk variables.
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Almost all of what is known about the families of runaways and homeless adolescents is based on adolescent self-reports. The validity of such research is currently being questioned by policy makers. The purpose of this study was to compare runaway and homeless adolescent reports and parent/caretaker reports on measures of parenting, family violence, and adolescent conduct. Reports of 120 runaway adolescents and their parents/caretakers from four Midwestern states were compared on measures of parental monitoring, parental warmth and supportiveness, parental rejection, physical and sexual abuse, and adolescent conduct. Comparison groups of nonrunaway adolescents and their mothers in two-parent and single-parent families from the same geographical area were also used for parenting and adolescent conduct measures. The findings indicated that although there were significant differences in means between adults and adolescents regardless of runaway status, adults and adolescent reports were in the same direction and present similar portraits of families of runaway and homeless young people. Both the parents/caretakers and their runaway adolescents reported lower levels of parental monitoring and warmth and supportiveness and higher levels of parental rejection than comparison groups of nonrunaway families. Parents/caretakers and runaway adolescents reported high levels of family violence and sexual abuse. Similarly, they concur regarding conduct problems for the adolescents. The findings suggest that runaway and homeless adolescents accurately depict the troubled family situations that they choose to leave. The policy implications for recent debates involving criminalization and mandatory return to parental custody of homeless and runaway youth are discussed.
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This study characterizes subcultural differences within an inner-city street youth population. Variations in residential status, subsistence patterns, and service utilization according to peer group affiliation were explored. A brief structured interview was administered to 752 youth, ages 12 to 23 years, who had been living on the streets for two or more consecutive months, or who were fully integrated into the "street economy." Subjects were recruited for the study using a stratified probability sampling design, with 30% recruited from community-based service sites and 70% from street locations and at natural "hang-outs." Five street youth groups were identified: "punks/skinheads," "druggies," "hustlers," "gang members," and "loners." The results demonstrated unique patterns with respect to places stayed/slept, means of financial support and economic subsistence, and use of available services according to peer group affiliation. The implications of these findings and recommendations for future research and service provision are discussed.
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Runaway and homeless youth are at high risk for substance abuse and unsafe sexual behavior. Our study describes the personal social networks of these youth and examines network characteristics associated with risky behaviors. In 1995 and 1996, we interviewed a purposive sample of youth aged 14 through 21 who were living in Washington, DC and were identified on the streets or through shelters or other service agencies (N = 327). Although we found that most youth reported current social relationships, a significant minority (26%) did not. Youth without a social network were significantly more likely to report current illicit drug use, multiple sex partners, and survival sex than youth with a network. For youth with a network, the networks were small, strong in affective and supportive qualities, comprised primarily of friends, typically included an alcohol or illicit drug user, and usually were not a source of pressure for risky behaviors. Our results indicate that networks had risk-enhancing and risk-decreasing properties in that network characteristics were associated in both positive and negative directions with risky behaviors.
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"This paper details the authors' selection, design, and use of a life history calendar (LHC) to collect retrospective life course data. A sample of nine hundred [U.S.] 23-year-olds, originally interviewed in 1980, were asked about the incidence and timing of various life events in the nine years since their 15th birthday.... The following aspects of the LHC are described: (a) the concept, uses, and advantages of the LHC, (b) the time units and domains used, (c) the mode of recording the responses and the decisions and problems involved, (d) interviewer training, and (e) coding. The following results attest to the accuracy of the LHC retrospective data: (a) only four of the calendars had missing data in any month; (b) the data obtained in 1980 about current work, school attendance, marriage, and children showed a remarkable correspondence to the retrospective 1985 LHC reports of these events; (c) the interviewers were positive about the LHC's ability to increase respondent recall."
A comparative study of female gang and non-gang members in Chicago
  • J Chang
Involvement of American Indian youth in gangs
  • J F Donnermeyer
  • R W Edwards
  • E L Chavez
  • F Beauvais
Preliminary test of theory of grounded culture and gang delinquency
  • W B Sanders
The effects of gang membership on deviance in two populations: Secondary school students and adolescent serious habitual offenders
  • R H Hughes
  • R L Dukes