Risk factors for gang involvement among ninth-grade students: A prospective investigation

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Craig Mason, Committee Chair


A sample of three hundred, ethnically diverse (54% Hispanic, 25% African American, and 21% White/Other) was recruited from one public high school in a large, southeastern city. Students were assessed on eight occasions during the academic year and completed self-report surveys consisting of measures of personal adjustment and behavior as well as measures of family, peer, and neighborhood environments. The primary analyses for this study were conducted using hierarchical linear modeling. These results indicate that risk factors for youth gang involvement exist within multiple ecological contexts. Significant predictors of youth gang involvement included peer gang involvement, neighborhood crime and safety, parent-adolescent conflict, and parental behavioral control. Several significant ethnic differences were found, most notably with respect to the effect of parenting on adolescent gang involvement. African American youth were more susceptible to the effects of family structure and parenting behavior than were Hispanic or White youth. Analyses indicated no significant gender differences either in levels of gang involvement or in risk factors for gang involvement.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

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