Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Psychology

Sub-Department

Clinical-Community Psychology

First Advisor

Patrick S Malone

Abstract

Previous research consistently shows that youth gang members are responsible for committing a disproportionate amount of all serious crime and delinquent acts. Methodological limitations of previous work, however, have limited our understanding of the precise role of the organized gang in predicting this crime. Differences in background risk factors between gang- and nongang- affiliated youth confound the relationship between gang-affiliation and delinquency. The aim of this study was to examine differential development and differential onset of antisocial behavior between a matched sample of gang-affiliated and nongang-affiliated youth. Balanced risk set matching was used to isolate the effects of gang membership, thereby removing confounding effects related to level of background risk and permitting a more stringent test of causality. Results indicate that gang membership predicts some, but not all, antisocial behavior. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.

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